Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
Medical | By Josefina Yates

Ireland impress on debut; debutant Imam-ul-Haq guides Pakistan to win

Ireland impress on debut; debutant Imam-ul-Haq guides Pakistan to win

Imam-ul-Haq, the debutant opener, and Babar Azam fashioned the significant partnership Pakistan needed to avert disaster after they had slipped to 14 for 3 chasing 160.

It was even worse for Ireland four balls later when Andrew Balbirnie was leg before wicket to Mohammad Abbas for the second time in the match without scoring - the 44th player to get a pair on his Test match debut.

Ireland were enforced to follow-on after conceding a lead of 180 runs as the match was reduced to a 4-day game due to a washout on day one.

Ireland Second Innings Close E C Joyce not out 39 W T S Porterfield not out 23 Extras b1 nb1 2 Total 0 wkts (26 overs) 64 To Bat: A Balbirnie, N J O'Brien, P R Stirling, G C Wilson, K J O'Brien, S R Thompson, T E Kane, T J Murtagh, W B Rankin.

O'Brien's hundred, which will go down in the history books as his country's first in this format, kept Ireland alive on day four, but he departed to the first ball he faced on Tuesday, edging Abbas to Haris Sohail at slip.

Boyd Rankin and Tyrone Kane soon followed, both bowled by Abbas, who returned five for 66 in the innings, and nine for 110 in the match, as Ireland added just 20 to their overnight score.

Mohammad Amir took his 100th Test wicket after returning to the fray against Ireland on Monday despite a troublesome knee injury.

It seemed poetic that the first wicket of the Pakistan innings fell courtesy of Tim Murtagh, the leader of the Irish bowling attack, in the first over itself with Azhar Ali hopping around and succumbing to flawless line and length, Paul Stirling pouching a brilliant catch at first slip.

Chasing 160, Imam (74 not out) and Azam (59) forged a crucial partnership to guide Pakistan to a comfortable victory after the visitors had slipped to 14/3.

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The now 26-year-old Amir's cricket career nearly came to an end following his involvement in a spot-fixing scandal during a 2010 Test against England at Lord's. He bagged an 8-ball duck in the first innings and a duck in four balls in the 2nd innings while batting at No.3.

Pakistan had to earn a win.

"The biggest thing was how we fought back in the second innings with the bat - that showed the character we have", said Porterfield.

"That's always been known to be there but Test cricket is Test cricket for a reason, it's there in the name, you did get tested and we were after the first innings".

Ireland earned respect and admiration alike throughout the cricket world, missing out on a historic victory against Pakistan today in Malahide.

"We want him to play Test cricket because he's our number one bowler", said Mahmood.

Among the Test playing nations, only Australia won its first-ever Test match - against England in Melbourne in 1877.

The record-breaking Irish batsman, alas, was out first ball on the fifth and final day of the Test match at Malahide.

Botham received great support from a left-hander making his maiden Test fifty, the late Graham Dilley, just as O'Brien did from another left-hander compiling his first half-century at this level in Stuart Thompson.

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