Ireland start strong but Faheem and Shadab keep Pakistan in the game

Dean Simpson
May 12, 2018

Pakistan, who had seen Shafiq make 62 as they recovered from losing two wickets in successive balls to be 13 for two, were 193 for six at tea on the second day after being sent into bat by Ireland captain William Porterfield following Friday's first-day washout. Pakistan likely to play with the same squad.

When the players left the pitch shortly before 5.30pm just before the heavens opened - play was abandoned for the day 20 minutes later - Pakistan had moved on to 268 for six, with Faheem Ashraf on 61 not out and Shadab Khan unbeaten on 52.

Ireland's staggering 144-year wait for Test cricket was a memorable one to say the least after two Irish players smashed into Pakistan batsman Imam-ul-Haq in the opening ball of the match, leaving him dazed and confused on the floor.

Rain washed out the whole of Friday's scheduled first day but 24 hours later, this idyllic village ground was bathed in sunshine, as Ireland - from the moment of the toss - officially became the 11th nation to play men's Test cricket.

Having won the toss, William Porterfield elected to field.

The day started eventfully enough with Debutant Imam-ul-Haq almost managing to run himself out off the first Irish ball in Test cricket.

Haris Sohail and Asad Shafiq steadied the ship for a shaky looking Pakistan taking them to lunch on 69 for 2 and the match quite even.

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

Boyd Rankin, who had previously taken one scalp in a lone Test appearance for England before switching allegiance to his native country, was the man to provide the breakthrough, becoming Ireland's first wicket-taker in the five-day format, producing an edge to second slip to reduce Pakistan to 13/1. But, in hindsight, given what the forecasts had predicted, both teams, especially Ireland, would be happy with the amount of cricket that eventually took place.

After a few near run-outs, Pakistan's third-wicket duo settled in.

Pakistan would have expected more from Babar Azam (14) who couldn't hang on with Shafiq for longer than nine overs before nicking off to Murtagh.

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