A day after Ireland’s players were seen skulking around in the pavilion as rain dashed their hopes of an ideal start to their Test career, the sun shone brightly on Saturday (May 12) and those at The Village in Malahide were in for a treat as the hosts picked up six wickets to reduce Pakistan to 268 after rain forced stumps on the second day of the one-off Test.
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.
Three of their bowlers – Tim Murtagh, Boyd Rankin and Stuart Thompson – finished with two wickets apiece
After the entire first day’s play was washed out, including the toss, Ireland won the toss and elected to field first on account of overhead conditions. William Porterfield’s decision was rewarded almost 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.
Pakistan, however, weren’t going to let the Test debutants get away with their early strikes. The seventh-ranked Test side in the world fought back through Haris Sohail’s 31 and Asad Shafiq’s 68. The duo added 58 runs for the third wicket to allay fears of an absolute collapse, but Sohail’s fall only reignited the possibility. Babar Azam’s stay barely lasted and Sarfraz Ahmed, the Pakistan skipper, couldn’t make the most of the greenhorn opposition. The skipper fell for 20 and it all seemed quite dire at the stage with the visitors languishing at 159 for 6.
As luck would have it, Pakistan staged the second fight back, and this time they really did show stomach for the fight as Shadab and Ashraf stitched together an unbeaten 109-run stand for the seventh-wicket before the rain arrived and curtailed played by eleven overs.