Ireland make positive start in Test debut

Grant SmithMay 14, 2018

Pakistan declared its first innings on 310 for 9 in the only Test match against Ireland on Sunday after playing 96 overs.

Ireland´s Boyd Rankin celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Pakistan´s Asad Shafiq (not pictured) for 62, during play on day two of Ireland´s inaugural test match against Pakistan.

Former England one-day global Joyce, arguably Ireland´s greatest batsman and at 39 the oldest Test debutant since Australia´s Bryce McGain made his bow aged 36 in 2009, appeared to be a victim of the fact the Decision Review System was not being used in this match because Cricket Ireland had decided they could not afford the cost for a one-off game.

Overnight rain and the ensuing wet conditions meant Richard Illingworth and Nigel Llong, the umpires, had no option but to call off the first session.

Abbas had lunch figures of two wicket for four runs and Amir one for one.

But when Ireland captain William Porterfield won the toss, on a sunny Saturday morning beneath blue skies, his side officially became only the 11th nation in the 141-year history of men's Test cricket. Abbas was fortunate that Richard Illingworth raised his finger after pitching the ball just outside leg before hitting Joyce on the pads, but there was no issue about the decisions to send back Andy Balbirnie and Niall O'Brien.

Thankfully Paul Stirling and Kevin O'Brien moved Ireland past the 26 New Zealand made against England in 1955 in Auckland and had added 29 before Stirling undid all the good work with a waft of pull shot off Faheem Ashraf that bobbled up to Babar Azam at extra cover.

And having waited more than a century for Ireland's first Test wicket, two then came along at once as new-ball duo Boyd Rankin and Tim Murtagh struck with successive deliveries to leave Pakistan 13 for two.

For Pakistan, Imam-ul-Haq and Faheem Ashraf made their test debuts.

From there, they arguably recovered pretty well, but a first-innings score of 130 was still penurious enough for Pakistan to enforce the follow on for the first time in 16 years and seven opportunities.

Former England worldwide Rankin had the honour of taking Ireland's first-ever Test wicket when Azhar Ali (4) edged him to second slip in the grounds of Malahide Castle, just north of Dublin.

"It was pretty sore but the adrenalin kicked in and I was able to get through it, obviously got us up to 130 or whatever".

But it did not take long for Ireland to make a stunning double strike.

Amir came off late in the final session because of a left knee problem and will be assessed.

But with Mick Jagger, a lifelong cricket fan, among the crowd - the Rolling Stones play a concert at Dublin's Croke Park on Thursday - the openers at least gave Ireland some satisfaction in a day dominated by Pakistan. They'll have admired the way this present side bounced back against the odds on another thrilling day of Test cricket.

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