Ireland bowlers impress on Test debut against Pakistan

A view of wet conditions at Malahide Cricket Club

The covers were in place all morning at Malahide. Source Oisin Keniry INPHO

But the 22-year-old left-hander, who hit a hundred on his one-day global debut against Sri Lanka last year, has made fifties against both Kent and Northamptonshire in Pakistan's two warm-up matches ahead of this one-off Test. Boyd Rankin got Ireland's first wicket, while Tim Murtagh got the second.

Ireland's historic first Test wicket was actually Rankin's second in Tests though, his first came in his solitary England Test appearance against Australia in Sydney, during the 2013/14 Ashes.

After a washout on Friday, Ireland, the 11th nation to compete in the longest format, finally took to the field on Saturday and claimed their first two wickets in successive deliveries having won the toss.

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.

But Shadab Khan (52 not out) and Faheem Ashraf (61no) excelled before play stopped again to put a dampener on another soggy day for Ireland.

With Haris Sohail (31) and Shafiq at the crease, Pakistan rebuilt and did not lose another wicket before lunch.

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Asad Shafiq had looked at ease until he pulled a delivery from Rankin straight to Andrew Balbirnie at square leg to depart for 62 and leave Pakistan five down.

Diving to make his crease as Tyrone Kane tried to throw down the stumps, Imam - nephew of Pakistan great Inzamam - collided with the onrushing wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien.

Debutant Imam ul-Haq (7) went the very next ball, to Tim Murtagh, struck on the knee roll and given out leg before wicket, leaving Pakistan at 13-2.

With Pakistan in a spot of bother at 159/6, Ashraf and Shadab came to the rescue as they amassed an unbeaten 109-run partnership, during which both batsmen brought up their half-centuries, before bad light brought play to an end for the day. The duo added 58 runs for the third wicket to allay fears of an absolute collapse, but Sohail's fall only reignited the possibility.

Pakistan would have expected more from Babar Azam (14) who couldn't hang on with Shafiq for longer than nine overs before nicking off to Murtagh. Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed (20) was caught by Stirling in the slips off Thompson.

Duly reprieved, he went to fifty in just 52 balls, including seven fours, with Shadab following him to the landmark in 89 balls.

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