Pakistan have escaped Ireland scare as they seal five-wicket victory in the fifth day of one-off Test at The Village Ground, Malahide, Dublin.
Ireland were 319/7 overnight credited by Kevin O’Brien’s historic ton for Irish cricket. However, O’Brien was dismissed on his first ball he faced in the fifth morning. He departed scoring 118 runs from 217 deliveries including 12 fours.
Pakistan bowled Ireland for 339 runs in 129.3 overs. Mohammad Abbas took his second five-wicket haul in Tests, 5 for 66. He took nine wickets in the match. The hosts set Pakistan a target of 160 runs.
The target looked bigger when Pakistan lost early wickets. Tim Murtagh delivered the first wicket in the over by dismissing Azhar Ali. Boyd Rankin also added one to his tally. Murtagh struck again and that put Pakistan 13/3 in 4.3 overs.
Ireland were high on confidence. Debutant opener Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam took Pakistan to 52/3 at lunch. Ireland had a chance after the interval but Andy Balbirnie dropped Babar when Pakistan were 60/3.
The duo stepped on the gas and kept Ireland frustrating. Imam reached his maiden Test fifty in 61 balls. Babar salvaged his poor Test form with a half-century. They added 126 runs for the fourth-wicket before Balbirnie’s throw got rid of Babar. The right-hander scored 59 off 114 with 8 fours.
Stuart Thompson later picked the wicket of opposition skipper Sarfraz Ahmed. Imam and Shadab Khan finished the game to a five-wicket victory for the tourists. Imam remained unbeaten on 121-ball 74 runs including 8 boundaries.
Pakistan 310/9d and 160/5 in 45 overs (Imam 74*, Babar 59; Murtagh 2/55, Thompson 1/31)
Ireland 130 and 339 (f/o) (K O’Brien 118, Thompson 53; Abbas 5/66, Amir 3/63)
Pakistan won by 5 wickets
Man of the Match: Kevin O’Brien
-Ruffin, Correspondent, bdcrictime.com