Ireland off to flying start as inaugural Test begins

Ireland off to flying start as inaugural Test begins

Former England one-day worldwide Joyce, arguably Ireland's greatest batsman, appeared to be a first-innings victim of the fact the Decision Review System was not being used in this Test because Cricket Ireland decided they could not afford the $50,000 cost.

But he recovered and faced his first ball, the second of the match, from Murtagh with Imam, who had had a cold press applied to the back of his neck, playing and missing before he saw out the remainder of the over at a sunny Malahide.

That pressure ultimately told with the final delivery of the eighth over when Rankin had Azhar Ali all squared-up.

Ireland, unsurprisingly, chose to deploy an all-seam attack on a wicket which was under cover for the entirety of yesterday and is expected to provide early assistance for the bowlers.

In a huge scramble, Ul-Haq made a last-ditch dive towards the stumps only to collide with the Irish duo of wicket-keeper Niall O'Brien and fielder Tyrone Kane.

After an opening day washout, Ireland took advantage of seam conditions by making Pakistan bat and reducing the visitors to 159-6 in the second session.

Abbas had lunch figures of two for four in three overs and Amir one for one in 3.1 overs.

This is a format so exacting that it took New Zealand 44 matches before recording their first win, India 24 and, most recently, Bangladesh 34.




Barely had the crowd's cheers subsided, then Pakistan were 13 for two off the very next ball, with Imam, the nephew of selection chief and former Test batsman Inzamam-ul-Haq, lbw for seven to a Murtagh delivery that came back into him.

Ed Joyce and William Porterfield's unbroken stand of 64 moved the Irish to within 116 of Pakistan's total. Amir had picked the other wicket before lunch.

Shafiq went on to complete a 107-ball fifty when he pulled Rankin for a single.

Rankin and Thompson removed Asad Shafiq and Sarfraz Ahmed respectively before Ashraf and Khan steered Pakistan to the close.

Faheem, however, did have a break when, on 36, he edged Rankin only for a diving Niall O'Brien to miss the catch and give Gary Wilson at first slip no chance of taking the ball.

"We're (less than) 120 behind, we know we're going to have to bat really well but I think the two lads showed at the end there that it's definitely possible", Wilson said.

Ironically, 10 minutes after umpires Richard Illingworth and Nigel Llong abandoned play, the sun came out, and frustrated spectators were asking had the decision been made too soon?

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