Ireland off to flying start as inaugural Test begins

Ireland off to flying start as inaugural Test begins

Ireland off to flying start as inaugural Test begins

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.

After Pakistan had declared their first innings on 310/9, Ireland were skittled out for 130 before replying solidly in their second innings as they were 64/0 at stumps.

Azhar Ali dug out a single off the opening delivery from Tim Murtagh and called for a quick legside single.

Ul-Haq, nephew of legendary Pakistan captain Inzamam, did not appear to suffer too many after-effects although it did take him 16 balls to get off the mark before he drove Murtagh stylishly for four through the off side.

While this was Ireland's first Test wicket, it wasn't Rankin's.

Shadab Khan was 25 not out and Faheem Ashraf, making his debut, 15 not out at the interval.

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

But it did not take long for Ireland to make a stunning double strike on a pitch offering some sideways movement.

Ireland's historic first Test wicket was actually Rankin's second in Tests though, his first came in his solitary England Test appearance against Australia in Sydney, during the 2013/14 Ashes.

Leg-spinner Shadab Khan continued his fine all-round display by taking two wickets in three balls to leave Ireland 61 for seven.

The seventh-ranked Test side in the world fought back through Haris Sohail's 31 and Asad Shafiq's 68. He then pulled up after bowling two balls of a fourth over - having sent down 10 in the first innings - shortly before the close, leaving Pakistan with a couple of unforeseen issues to contemplate overnight.

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. 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. Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed (20) was caught by Stirling in the slips off Thompson. "We're still hugely proud and there are still four days to go".

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