Ireland chip away, but Shadab and Ashraf stand firm

People shelter from the rain as groundsmen work on the wet pitch at Malahide cricket club in Dublin as the start of play is delayed on the first day of the Test match between Ireland and Pakistan

From there, they arguably recovered pretty well, but a first-innings score of 130 was still penurious enough for Pakistan to enforce the follow on for the first time in 16 years and seven opportunities.

Shadab and Faheem Ashraf extended their seventh-wicket century partnership to 117 before the former was out for 55.

Mohammad Abbas had 4-44 while Mohammad Amir and Shadab Khan took five wickets between them as the Irish were bowled out 31 runs short of the target needed to avoid the follow-on.

With the Test very much in the balance, Ireland will have to impress with the bat when called upon just like they have with the ball.

Murtagh hurled in the opening ball to Pakistan batsman Azhar Ali, who got the briefest of touches, before making a run for the opposite stumps.

A crowd of just under 5,000 gave plenty of vocal encouragement to Ireland and they were in full voice following Rankin and Murtagh's early strikes. There was drama at a sundrenched Malahide even before the wickets fell, with Pakistan debutant Imam-ul-Haq injured off the first ball of the match.

Rankin, the former England global and only Irish player with test experience, had the honour of Ireland's first test wicket when Azhar Ali (4) edged him to second slip in the eighth over.




The hosts picked up two wickets in successive balls in the morning session, to leave Pakistan shocked on 13-2.

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

Pakistan had an injury issue of their own, with Amir having to leave the field in the final session with an injury to his left knee.

Shafiq though completed a 107-ball fifty before a pull off the towering Rankin went straight to square leg. Babar Azam's stay barely lasted and Sarfraz Ahmed, the Pakistan skipper, couldn't make the most of the greenhorn opposition.

But Shadab and Faheem turned the tide in style. Abbas returned to claim his fourth and Shadab finished off the innings but Wilson's unbeaten 33 was symbolic of Irish resolve - a foundation which Joyce and Porterfield built on doughtily during the evening sunshine.

"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.

When Stirling did come on, a well-set Faheem launched the part-time spinner over long-on for six.

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