After rain spoiled the first day of Ireland’s debut Test match, the sun smiled and welcomed them to the elitist club of Test cricket on Saturday. Ten Irishmen wore their maiden Test cap, and away from the limelight two Pakistanis – Imam-ul-Haq and Faheem Ashraf.
Having won the toss, William Porterfield elected to field. The new ball pair of Boyd Rankin and Tim Murtagh kept the line tight and allowed only for few runs to escape in the first half an hour of play, and then a double strike off consecutive balls had the visitors reduced to 13 for 2.
Pakistan skipper Azhar Ali was squared up by a Rankin delivery and edged one to his Irish counterpart at slips. And off the next ball, Murtagh trapped Imam-ul-Haq. The third wicket pair combined to add 58 runs before one of Sohail’s edges was taken by a fine Porterfield catch at slips. And thereafter, all the middle order batsmen managed to get starts but their inability to string partnerships of substance allowed Ireland to remain on top till Tea.
Murtagh, Rankin and Stuart Thomson bagged two wickets each and reduced Pakistan to 159 for 6 at one stage, and looked in a serious threat of getting bowled out by the end of day’s play. And that is when Shadab and Faheem joined forces in the middle.
The two bowling all-rounders gave a good account of their abilities with the bat and counter-attacked against Ireland’s challenge. Their partnership extended to 109, and Pakistan’s to 268 for 6, before umpires had to call off play due to bad light.
The century stand for the seventh wicket helped Pakistan shift the initiative, which rested with Ireland for most parts of the day, in their favour. Only 76 overs of play was possible on the second day.
PAK 268/6 (76 ov) | Asad Shafiq 62, Faheem Ashraf 61* | Murtagh 2/33, Thomspon 3/51