Ireland solid after facing Test realities

Posted May 14, 2018

Ireland, unsurprisingly, chose to deploy an all-seam attack on a wicket which was under cover for the entirety of yesterday and is expected to provide early assistance for the bowlers.

Pakistan were 159 for six, the sun was shining, the 5,000-strong crowd at Malahide Cricket Club were cheering every delivery, and Ireland's first full day of Test cricket was promising to be one of the great days of Irish sport.

At lunch, Rankin had impressive figures of one wicket for seven runs in seven overs, with Murtagh - 1-12 in seven - only marginally more expensive.

At tea, Tim Murtagh and fellow pacemen Rankin and Stuart Thompson had taken two wickets each.

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Rain washed out the whole of Friday's scheduled first day but a day later grey clouds had been replaced by sunny blue skies as Ireland, from the moment of the toss, officially became the 11th nation to play men's Test cricket.

With the Test very much in the balance, Ireland will have to impress with the bat when called upon just like they have with the ball.

The 22-year-old left-hander was left flat on the ground and needed several minutes' treatment on the field.

Ireland's historic first Test wicket was actually Rankin's second in Tests though, his first came in his solitary England Test appearance against Australia in Sydney, during the 2013/14 Ashes.

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

William Porterfield's decision was rewarded nearly immediately as Rankin and Murtagh, among the more senior members in the side, picked up a wicket each to break Pakistan down to 13 for 2 inside the first ten overs.

Asad Shafiq had looked at ease until he pulled a delivery from Rankin straight to Andrew Balbirnie at square leg to depart for 62 and leave Pakistan five down.

"It was a magic feeling to get my first wicket, I was happy for Boyd to take the first and then to get the next one, next ball was special", said Murtagh. Babar Azam's stay barely lasted and Sarfraz Ahmed, the Pakistan skipper, couldn't make the most of the greenhorn opposition. Abbas returned to claim his fourth and Shadab finished off the innings but Wilson's unbeaten 33 was symbolic of Irish resolve - a foundation which Joyce and Porterfield built on doughtily during the evening sunshine. Paul Stirling, with the match ball raised high in his right hand after a sharp catch, was hailing the noisy supporters at the Malahide Castle end of Test cricket's newest venue.

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