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

Jo Caldwell
May 13, 2018

Boyd Rankin (2-58), already a Test global with England, took the historic first wicket as Ireland began on the front foot and it was the same man who removed the troublesome Asad Shafiq (62) to slow the recovering tourists.

Haris Sohail was 28 not out and Asad Shafiq 22 not out after Pakistan lost two wickets in successive balls to be 13 for two.

The first day of the historic Test was washed out on Friday, but conditions looked bright and sunny on Day 2.

Ireland's staggering 144-year wait for Test cricket was a memorable one to say the least after two Irish players smashed into Pakistan batsman Imam-ul-Haq in the opening ball of the match, leaving him dazed and confused on the floor.

Azhar Ali (4) and Imam-ul-Haq (7) were sent in to bat before a freaky start saw the latter involved in a nasty collision with both Tyrone Kane and wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien following the very first delivery.

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Tyrone Kane and Niall O'Brien collide with Imam-ul-Haq.

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

Rankin eventually tempted Shafiq to pull to square leg on 62, giving him, Murtagh and Stuart Thompson two wickets apiece.

Imam is the nephew of Pakistan selection chief and former Test batsman Inzamam-ul-Haq and his inclusion in the squad provoked allegations of nepotism.

But Imam, who hit a hundred on his one-day worldwide debut against Sri Lanka previous year, made fifties against both Kent and Northamptonshire in Pakistan's two warm-up matches. Cuts and edges fetched them the required runs and helped the visitors reach 67 for 2 at Lunch, with the third wicket-stand remaining undefeated on 54.

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

But with the towering Rankin, bowling from around the wicket, a similar shot proved Shafiq's undoing when he found Andrew Balbirnie at square leg.

While Rankin took Ireland's first Test wicket, it was not his first in Test cricket.

And when Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed (20) was caught by Stirling in the slips off Thompson, the tourists were 159 for six in this stand-alone match. Full money is also refunded to the spectators who buy tickets for the yesterday's play.

History was made on Saturday as Ireland became the 11th nation to compete in a Test match when they stepped on the field to comete against Pakistan.

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