Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Sports | By Jonathan Ford

Valiant Ireland lose to Pakistan by five wickets in maiden Test

Valiant Ireland lose to Pakistan by five wickets in maiden Test

Starting the day on 319 for seven with Kevin O'Brien resuming on 118, Ireland were only able to add 20 runs to their overnight total to set Pakistan a target of 160.

It was primarily O'Brien's graft and guile that brought Ireland to this juncture, taking their first ever Test match into the fifth day, but now only two wickets remained with the lead just over 140.

However, facing a seemingly modest target, Pakistan made a wretched start with the bat.

Ireland gifted Pakistan an early breakthrough when Joyce ran himslf out for 43 after failed to beat Faheem Ashraf's shy from midwicket.

Though Babar was run out thanks to a mix-up with Imam, with the score on 142, and skipper Sarfraz Ahmed followed soon after for 8, it was too little too late for Ireland, and Shadab Khan ended on 8 not out to help Pakistan over the line.

Yet he missed Kevin O'Brien post a century the following day - a feat Porterfield hopes can have a lasting impact for the future of the game in the country.

They went on to establish a narrow lead going into the final day of the five, which is now underway.

However, Pakistan had crumbled to 14-3 in Tuesday's morning session, raising the prospect of a stunning Ireland victory after the hosts had been made to follow on.

Ireland might have been waiting a long time for Test cricket, but based on the evidence of their maiden match in Malahide, Test cricket might well have been waiting even longer for Ireland. But overall, all the lads are delighted and they all played a roll throughout the game, so it is great for ourselves and it gives us a lot of belief.

"It's something that's been talked about during big occasions, World Cups".

"To get up to close to 350 showed what we've got in the changing room and the passion that we have for playing our cricket".

At that point Ireland looked capable of becoming only the fourth team in the 141-year history of Test Cricket to win after following on. Imam-ul-Haq, the debutant opener, and Babar Azam fashioned the significant partnership Pakistan needed to avert disaster after they had slipped to 14 for 3 chasing 160.

An innings defeat was still a possibility when Amir, given a jail sentence and banned from cricket for five years as a result of his involvement in a spot-fixing scandal during the 2010 Lord´s Test, took his 100th wicket in 31 matches at this level when Gary Wilson was held in the slips by Haris Sohail.

The match was fascinating as the game swung both ways with both teams ahead at stages and looking like they could win it at one stage or another. They produced great determination and tenacity to grind out a fantastic display of cricket and an overall fabulous test match, with the added experience and learning curve going to stand to Ireland in future Test matches.

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