Thursday, 19 July, 2018

Brave Ireland Unnerve Pakistan Despite Test Defeat

Kevin O'Brien poses with his MoM trophy on Tuesday Kevin O'Brien scores Ireland's first Test hundred
Jeannette Daniel | 16 May, 2018, 13:44

Ireland seamers Tim Murtagh (2-55) and Boyd Rankin (1-57) reduced the tourists to 14-3 inside five overs as they began their chase of 160 under overcast skies in Dublin, after the home side had been dismissed for 339 earlier in the day, with Kevin O'Brien unable to add to his overnight 118.

But Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam shared a 126-run fourth wicket stand as Pakistan battled to their winning target of 160.

O'Brien going on to a big hundred would have been the first target, but he could only lean on his bat handle and curse himself after driving hard at Mohammad Abbas in the second over of the day and sending a simple catch to slip.

Imam, in particular, looked at ease and was scampering between the wickets - a trait his uncle Inzamam-ul-Haq was not renowned for during his career - as Pakistan reached lunch 52 for three, needing 108 more. His first 14 Tests saw Amir take 51 wickets at just a fraction over 23 runs apiece, but his 16 completed Tests since his comeback yielded 44 wickets at a more expensive average of 37.25.

Amir, who helped Essex win English cricket's first-class County Championship previous year, burst onto the world scene as a teenager and at 18 was the youngest bowler to the landmark of 50 Test wickets.

Ireland made their reputation on the global stage with World Cup wins over Pakistan, England and West Indies, Porterfield was proud of his side's entry into the Test arena.

"How we went about that to get up close to 350 just showed what we've got in the changing rooms and the passion that we've got".

Ireland's courageous reply to a potent Pakistani attack was lead by none other than burly Irish all-rounder Kevin O'Brien, whose patient sojourn at the crease gave a lot to cheer to the Irish fans.

The 11th Test nation's optimism began to dissipate with Imam and Azam at the crease, though the former was fortunate an edge dropped short off Murtagh and the latter was nearly undone by a Rankin yorker.


The now 26-year-old Amir's cricket career nearly came to an end following his involvement in a spot-fixing scandal during a 2010 Test against England at Lord's.

Kevin O'Brien is handed the man of the match award by Ross McCollum and Rameez Raja.

Only England in 1894 and 1981, and India in 2001, had even won a Test after following on, and no country had won their inaugural fixture in the longest format since Australia won the first ever Test in 1877.

Pakistan survived an almighty scare before condemning Ireland to a five-wicket defeat in the hosts' maiden Test match on day five at Malahide.

The third-wicket partnership had only got to 25 when O'Brien was bowled, playing across the line to Amir, and when Porterfield followed for the addition of only one more run, a good diving catch to his left by the keeper, Ireland were 95-4.

Pakistan's record on fifth day performances was evidently abysmal with only one win in their last nine day five matches.

This was a game to display the true folly of the ICC's exclusionary policy in Test cricket with Ireland showing that the game's oldest form could only benefit from fresh blood, that the sport is only dying out while its governing body allows it to.

Ireland fought to become a Test nation, and believed that they were good enough.

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