Ireland's Very First Ball In Test Cricket Was A Dramatic One

Ireland's Very First Ball In Test Cricket Was A Dramatic One

Ireland were awarded Test status previous year by the ICC and it was confirmed in October that Pakistan would be the first opponents for the new boys. There was drama at an initially sun-drenched Malahide right from Saturday's first ball of this stand-alone match.

Former England worldwide Boyd Rankin (1-7 off seven overs) had the honour of taking Ireland's first-ever Test wicket with Azhar (4) edging him to second slip.

Despite being the first team to lose their entire opening day of Test match cricket, Deutrom refused to be deflated.

At tea, Tim Murtagh and fellow pacemen Rankin and Stuart Thompson had taken two wickets each.

Azhar Ali faced the first ball of the match from Tim Murtagh and kept out a yorker before calling his opening partner through for a single. Diving to make his crease as Tyrone Kane tried to throw down the stumps, Imam - nephew of Pakistan great Inzamam - collided with onrushing wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien.

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, the nephew of Pakistan selection chief and former Test batsman Inzamam-ul-Haq, scored a hundred on his one-day worldwide debut against Sri Lanka a year ago.

Imam (7) went the very next ball, to Murtagh, struck on the kneeroll and given out lbw to leave Pakistan at 2-13.

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The left-hander, who came into this match following fifties in Pakistan's two warm-up fixtures, against Kent and Northamptonshire, square-drove Murtagh for a stylish four.

Shafiq began to steady the Pakistan ship and reached his 50 from 107 balls after the restart.

The seventh-wicket stand was already worth 109 runs and the pair had moved Pakistan away from a slightly shaky position before tea, where they had been 159 for six at one stage, to give them a decided edge after day two, the first day having been a complete washout.

But, in hindsight, given what the forecasts had predicted, both teams, especially Ireland, would be happy with the amount of cricket that eventually took place.

Shafiq square-cut Kane for four, with left-hander Haris glancing Thompson for a legside boundary.

Imam quickly recovered, but the two Pakistan batsmen soon departed in consecutive balls.

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

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