Published: Sat, May 12, 2018
Sport | By Stuart Potter

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

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

Ireland's first day of play in Test cricket started and ended with a bang with a dramatic first delivery opening affairs and a clap of thunder and a flash of lightning ending play at Malahide with Pakistan having firmly taken the upper hand. First, it was Shadab who played the aggressor and then Faheem to help Pakistan revive.

Shortly after Ireland's first Test caps were awarded to 11 proud cricketers, many of whom have been instrumental in paving the way for this day, William Porterfield called correctly and without hesitation, opted to bowl.

More than 5,000 spectators had paid to watch the historic day's play against Pakistan at Malahide but are now entitled to a full refund and, following the abandonment of Ireland's last home match against West Indies at Stormont, the compensation is not covered by CI's insurance.

Tyrone Kane and Niall O'Brien collide with Imam-ul-Haq.

Having won the toss, William Porterfield elected to field.

But earlier in the day Ireland had rattled Pakistan's top order with nagging lines and lengths from Tim Murtagh, Boyd Rankin and Stuart Thompson.

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And off the next ball, Murtagh trapped Imam-ul-Haq with an inswinger.

An expectant crowd of nearly 6,000 filled the temporary stands in anticipation of witnessing a piece of sporting history, with Tim Murtagh, the Middlesex seamer, delivering the historic first ball - and it wasn't without drama. 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.

Rankin, whose last Test appearance was in England's nightmare Ashes tour in 2013/2014, was mobbed by his team-mates, with celebrations in the stands just as joyous. Batting on 60, Shafiq hit a Rankin short-ball straight into the hands of square-leg as Pakistan went from 71-2 to 159-6.

Babar Azam (14), pushing hard at a Murtagh delivery that left him off the pitch, was well-held by Paul Stirling at second slip.

Few Pakistani fans echoed the sentiments of Akram who objected Pakistan team's move to give their customary green stripe a miss.

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