Wednesday, 23 May, 2018

Ireland Test debut ends in defeat

Kevin O'Brien Kevin O’Brien celebrates his century
Diane Mills | 16 May, 2018, 13:44

There was also more than a hint of regret over how they lost their final three second innings wickets cheaply this morning, leaving Pakistan with a relatively modest victory target of 160 when an extra 50-60 runs could have caused the visitors serious problems.

A top-notch 74 run knock of opener Imamul Haq off 121 balls and middle-order batsman Babar Azam's 59 runs innings sealed win for the Sarfaraz-led visiting side.

Through Imam and Babar Azam though, Pakistan rallied to take lunch at 52/3.

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.

Pakistan eventually closed out the game, securing 160-5 to take the inaugural test match, with Imam finishing 72 not out to cap off a fine debut display for him.

The unanimous verdict from the cricket world showed that it was great to see Ireland play Test cricket, and even greater to come out with an extremely competitive performance on their Test debut. Abbas pocketed the last two wickets, as well, to finish with his second five-for in six Tests. And 94 for three became 95 for four when Amir had Ireland captain William Porterfield (32) edging to wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed, the Pakistan captain.

The 11th Test nation's optimism began to dissipate with Imam and Azam at the crease, though the former was fortunate an edge dropped short off Murtagh and the latter was nearly undone by a Rankin yorker.

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From there, they dragged themselves back into the match and played their way into contention going into the final day against a Test nation stalwart as Pakistan.

Although it was nearly inevitable that the upset was too far gone, Ireland further added to a respectable scoreline and outstanding match in general producing a further outing through Stuart Thompson's dismissal of Safraz Ahmed for 8, Pakistan now at 152-5.

Becoming just the fourth batsman to score a century in his country's maiden Test, Kevin O'Brien was deservedly adjudged Man of the Match. Victory was a good way for Pakistan to prepare for the first of a two- Test series against England at Lord's starting on May 24.

Ireland players after Pakistan secured a five-wicket win. We are a very young side, we had two debutant players, but we were very confident whatever the target will come, we will chase it down.

"I think it was a fantastic team effort, yesterday belonged to Kevin and very well supported by Tommo and TK".

Following-on, Ireland started the fourth day on 64 without loss. It was our first Test match and it was tough on the first day, we struggled a bit with the emotions. It's in the name and you do get tested throughout.

This was a game to display the true folly of the ICC's exclusionary policy in Test cricket with Ireland showing that the game's oldest form could only benefit from fresh blood, that the sport is only dying out while its governing body allows it to.

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