Wednesday, 23 May, 2018

Ireland Can Dream of Remarkable Debut Test Win Against Pakistan

Pakistan collapsed to 14 for three in first session Pakistan collapsed to 14 for three in first session
Faye Gross | 18 May, 2018, 12:21

Ireland's bid for an unlikely victory in its inaugural test came up short as debutant Imam-ul-Haq steered Pakistan out of trouble and to a five-wicket win on the final day on Tuesday.

O'Brien went steadily through the 90s before a pushed two off Amir saw him to a 186-ball hundred including 10 fours, the batsman punching the air in celebration.

118 - Kevin O'Brien's 118 is the 2nd highest score in a follow-on inning for any player on Test debut.

It's not too often that Kevin O'Brien scores a century for his country - but when he does they tend to be particularly special. Ireland were enforced to follow-on after conceding a lead of 180 runs as the match was reduced to a 4-day game due to a washout on day one.

The last thing Ireland needed was to gift Pakistan a wicket via a runout and yet that is exactly how an opening stand eventually worth 69 runs ended when Joyce set off for a needlessly tight single before failing to beat Faheem Ashraf's direct hit from midwicket.

Imam strode off unbeaten on 74 but it was Kevin O'Brien who picked up the man of the match award, with the added bonus of forever being the first name of Ireland's Test match roll of honour board.

There was no let up from Ireland and Murtagh claimed his sixth wicket of the match by bowling Asad Shafiq (1), leaving Pakistan three down inside five overs.

"We carried that through pretty much throughout that first day and throughout the game really, putting aside when we went out to bat in the first innings, I'm sure a lot of the lads would like to have that opportunity again".

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Amir was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets, while Abbas took two and Shadab chipped in with one.

Ireland were facing an innings defeat when O'Brien came in at 95 for four but, ably assisted by Thompson, who made 53, he turned the tide during a seventh-wicket partnership of 114.

Overall, the display was full of positives and although it wasn't flawless over the five days, Ireland showed that they can absolutely compete in Test cricket at a high level.

His 50-ball ton that day, still the fastest in World Cup history, guided Ireland to a famous victory and O'Brien is hoping his latest century can inspire another.

And despite an early scare, where Ireland had Pakistan struggling at 14 for three, the tourists secured the win just before tea thanks to two half-centuries from Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam.

"Definitely we were anxious when we were down 14 for three", said Sarfraz.

Pakistan VS Ireland test match initially restricted to four days as the rain dishearted the fans on Friday.

With a performance to silence any who doubted if they deserved their place at cricket's top table, Ireland almost produced what would have been one of the sport's most unexpected results, coming back from the indignity of the follow on to push Pakistan all the way.

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