Thursday, 24 May, 2018

Faheem, Shadab revive Pakistan after Irish show

Ireland make flying start in historic Test match against Pakistan Ireland impress in maiden Test before Pakistan pair launch a counter-attack
Sergio Cook | 12 May, 2018, 21:36

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The hosts would have had more to celebrate on the day had they found a way to get rid of Shadab Khan (52 not out) and Faheem Ashraf (61 not out), but they won't be too disappointed in the way their opening day in Test cricket unfolded.

Ireland belatedly made their historic Test debut following a first-day wash out, but could only limit Pakistan to 268-6 before the rain returned on Saturday.

Pakistan, sent into bat by Ireland captain William Porterfield, lost two wickets in successive balls to be 13 for two, but concerns that Ireland would pay for doing without a specialist spinner were eventually proved to be well-founded.

Boyd Rankin (2-58), already a Test global with England, took the historic first wicket as Ireland began on the front foot and it was the same man who removed the troublesome Asad Shafiq (62) to slow the recovering tourists.

There was drama at an initially sun-drenched Malahide right from Saturday´s first ball of this stand-alone match. Pakistan skipper Azhar Ali was squared up by a Rankin delivery and edged one to his Irish counterpart at slips.

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.

Pakistan team is in good form as it won the tour match against Northamptonshire with 9 wickets.

That left Pakistan 13 for one off the last ball of the eighth over. Shafiq square-cut Kane for four, with left-hander Haris glancing Thompson for a legside boundary.

Imam was lbw for seven to a Murtagh delivery that came back into him.

And three overs later, it was wicket number six as captain Sarfraz Ahmed went for 20 runs after playing a poor shot, edging behind where Stirling was waiting with Thompson also adding his second wicket. And that is when Shadab and Faheem joined forces in the middle.

Shafiq, however, was starting to open up his body and take on the bowlers, dispatching the ball to all areas of the Malahide oval, his half century following soon after.

After an opening day washout, Ireland took advantage of seam conditions by making Pakistan bat and reducing the visitors to 159-6 in the second session.

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