Sun, May 13, 2018 - Page 11 News List

Ireland off to flying start as inaugural Test begins


Ireland yesterday took two wickets in two balls as their inaugural men’s Test finally got going at Malahide.

Pakistan were reduced to 13-2, with Boyd Rankin and Tim Murtagh the successful bowlers, but Pakistan, sent into bat by Ireland captain William Porterfield after rain washed out Friday’s opening day, recovered to 67-2 at lunch on the second day.

Haris Sohail was 28 not out and Asad Shafiq 22 not out.

There was drama at a sun-drenched Malahide even before the wickets fell, with Pakistan debutant Imam-ul-Haq injured off the first ball of the match.

Azhar Ali dug out a Murtagh delivery and called for a quick legside single.

Non-striker Imam, in scrambling to complete the run, found himself sandwiched between wicket-keeper Niall O’Brien and Tyrone Kane in a heavy collision.

The 22-year-old was left flat on the ground and needed several minutes’ treatment on the field, but he recovered to face the second ball of the match, with Imam playing and missing.

Imam, who came into this match following 50s in Pakistan’s two warm-up fixtures against Kent and Northamptonshire square-drove Murtagh for a stylish four.

However, it did not take long for Ireland to make a stunning double strike.

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. That left Pakistan 13-1 off the last ball of the eighth over.

Barely had the crowd’s cheers subsided when Pakistan were 13-2 off the very next ball.

Imam was leg before wicket for seven to a Murtagh delivery that came back into him.

At lunch, Rankin had impressive figures of one wicket for seven runs in seven overs, with Murtagh — 1-12 in seven — only marginally more expensive.

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