Monday, 28 May, 2018

Ireland Test off to dramatic start as Pakistan´s Imam injured first ball

Deutrom revealed the capacity for the match is 6,300 – it will be 8,500 for the T20s against India next month with further temporary stands erected Ireland's introduction to Test cricket after 144-year wait ruined by rain
Edward Snyder | 12 May, 2018, 21:01

Asad Shafiq and Haris Sohail looked out of sorts against the movement and the pace but they controlled their urge to attack and put on a useful half-century stand.

Fast bowler Boyd Rankin, who achieved his Test ambition for England in 2014 and returned to Ireland in 2016, is part of the golden generation of Irish cricketers who have been rewarded with places in the first Test squad.

With that, Rankin had captured the first-ever Test wicket for Ireland and wrote himself into the history books.

The ball had travelled just a couple of feet from the stumps and wicket-keeper Niall O'Brien and fielder Tyrone Kane both darted towards the ball while Ul-Haq, on Test debut, dived to make his ground.

There was drama at a sun-drenched Malahide even before the wickets fell, with Pakistan debutant Imam-ul-Haq injured off the first ball of the match.

Murtagh had two for 30 in 14 overs, Rankin two for 33 in 14 and Thompson a slightly more expensive two for 47 in 13, with Ireland opting against including a specialist spinner in their XI. Imam-ul-Haq, who is the nephew of Inzamam-ul-Haq, will also likely make his test debut.

But Imam, who hit a hundred on his one-day global debut against Sri Lanka previous year, made fifties against both Kent and Northamptonshire in Pakistan´s two warm-up matches.




"I don't want to go round with a massively long face projecting misery, because it isn't, we are still hugely proud, there are still four days left in the match and, who knows, in the record books it may say we took the game to the fifth day", he said.

Rankin had an uncertain Azhar (four) edging to Porterfield at second slip.

Once the familiarities were done, Murtagh was handed the new ball as the noise levels rose as an expectant crowd cheered him in to the crease for the first Test delivery in Ireland.

Few Pakistani fans echoed the sentiments of Akram who objected Pakistan team's move to give their customary green stripe a miss.

But with the towering Rankin, bowling from around the wicket, a similar shot proved Shafiq's undoing when he found Andrew Balbirnie at square leg.

Stirling's attempt to replicate John Mooney's famous Gaelic football solo from the 2007 World Cup win over Pakistan was miscued as it shanked off his right foot, but at 159 for six, there was giddiness on the pitch as well as off.

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