Friday, 20 July, 2018

Pakistan Enforce Follow-on for the First Time in 16 Years

Umpires Illingworth and Llong carry out an inspection but there was little prospect of play and Ireland will hope to make their bow today instead 'A fantastic first day' - Porterfield primed to push on after maiden Test starts well for Ireland
Andrew Cummings | 14 May, 2018, 00:24

It was not the start either side wanted with Pakistan keen to avoid early wickets and Ireland desperate to get on with the game after the Friday washout cost Cricket Ireland €75,000 (£66,000) in ticket refunds.

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.

On the third day, Faheem Ashraf and Shadab Khan resumed Pakistani batting on 268-6 on the scoreboard at Malahide stadium. While Abbas scalped a couple of wickets, Amir grabbed one. Murtagh had two for 33 in 17 overs, Rankin two for 58 in 17 and Thompson two for 51 in 16, with Ireland opting against including a specialist spinner in its XI. Shadab wrapped things up first time around when Imam-ul-Haq held a sharp catch at short leg to dismiss Tim Murtagh for five. "When they both went in we were not in a very good position but the way they both batted they really put us in the driving seat in this Test match".

With Haris Sohail (31) and Asad Shafiq at the crease, Pakistan did not lose another wicket before lunch.

Murtagh hurled in the opening ball to Pakistan batsman Azhar Ali, who got the briefest of touches, before making a run for the opposite stumps.

For Pakistan, Imam-ul-Haq and Faheem Ashraf made their test debuts.

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

Rankin, who had taken one wicket in his lone Test appearance for England against Australia at Sydney in 2014 before switching allegiance, had the honor of claiming Ireland's maiden scalp at this level, when an uncertain Azhar (4) edged to Porterfield at second slip.

It was 73 for 8 when Kevin O'Brien slapped the returning Amir to cover but Wilson, grimacing throughout but refusing to give his wicket away, was then joined by the willing Boyd Rankin as the ninth-wicket pair compiled the highest stand of the innings.

"It looked like Pakistan maybe had the ball reversing slightly towards the end". Sarfraz Ahmed, the Pakistan captain, was walking slowly and disconsolately towards the pavilion and Stuart Thompson, the Ireland seamer, was being mobbed by his team-mates.

Ashraf was dropped twice at first slip by Gary Wilson, on 24 and 36.

Duly reprieved, he went to fifty in just 52 balls, including seven fours, with Shadab following him to the landmark in 89 balls.

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