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May 16, 2018

Imam sees Pakistan to win over Test debutants Ireland


May 16, 2018

DUBLIN: Pakistan debutant Imam-ul-Haq saw his side to victory as Ireland’s first match in men’s Test cricket ended in a gallant last-day defeat by five wickets at Malahide on Tuesday.

Pakistan, set a seemingly modest 160 to win, after earlier making Ireland follow-on, collapsed to 14 for three before lunch on the fifth day. But 22-year-old left-handed opener Imam, the nephew of Pakistan selection chief and former Test batsman Inzamam-ul-Haq, responded to the pressure with 74 not out — his maiden fifty at this level.

Together with Babar Azam, who made 59 after being dropped on nine, he kept Ireland at bay during a fourth-wicket stand of 126.Imam hit the winning runs as grey clouds threatening rain hung over Malahide.

Just four balls into their chase, Pakistan saw Azhar Ali edge Tim Murtagh to Paul Stirling at first slip.Haris Sohail (seven) fell next, well taken in the gully by Ed Joyce off towering fast bowler Boyd Rankin as Ireland’s two former England internationals combined.

And 13 for two became 14 for three in 4.3 overs when Middlesex paceman Murtagh produced a superb delivery to bowl Asad Shafiq between bat and pad for one.Imam, having cover driven a four off Rankin, completed a 61-ball fifty with seven boundaries.

Babar cashed in to make a 61-ball fifty.But with Pakistan 20 runs shy of victory, a mix-up saw Babar run out.Earlier, Ireland were dismissed for 339 in their second innings.

Kevin O’Brien, who on Monday became the first Ireland batsman to score a Test hundred, fell to his first ball Tuesday as Mohammad Abbas had him caught by Haris at slip for 118.The Irish, resuming on 319 for seven, saw Abbas then take three wickets for 12 runs in 22 balls, the paceman finishing with an innings haul of five for 66 in 28.3 overs.

Only three sides in the 141-year history of Test cricket had won after being made to follow on and only one men’s team — Australia in the inaugural Test against England at Melbourne in 1877 — had enjoyed a victory in their debut match at this level.

Ireland were facing an innings defeat when man-of-the-match O’Brien came in at 95 for four but, ably assisted by Stuart Thompson, who made 53, he turned the tide during a seventh-wicket partnership of 114.

Ireland won toss

Pakistan 1st Innings 310-9 dec (Faheem 83, Asad 62; T Murtagh 4-45,

S Thompson 3-62)

Ireland 1st Innings 130 (Abbas 4-44, Shadab 3-31)

Ireland 2nd Innings (following-on, overnight: 319-7)

E Joyce run out 43

*W Porterfield c Sarfraz b Amir 32

A Balbirnie lbw b Abbas 0

N O’Brien b Amir 18

P Stirling lbw b Abbas 11

K O’Brien c Haris b Abbas 118

G Wilson c Haris b Amir 12

S Thompson b Shadab 53

T Kane b Abbas 14

B Rankin b Abbas 6

T Murtagh not out 5

Extras (b1, lb20, nb2, w4) 27

Total (all out, 129.3 overs) 339

Fall: 1-69, 2-69, 3-94, 4-95, 5-127, 6-157, 7-271, 8-321, 9-332, 10-339

Bowling: Amir 29.2-9-63-3; Abbas 28.3-10-66-5 (1nb); Rahat 23-3-75-0 (2w); Faheem 18-3-51-0 (1nb, 1w); Shadab 30.4-7-63-1

Pakistan 2nd Innings

Azhar Ali c Stirling b Murtagh 2

Imam-ul-Haq not out 74

Haris Sohail c Joyce b Rankin 7

Asad Shafiq b Murtagh 1

Babar Azam run out 59

*Sarfraz Ahmed lbw b Thompson 8

Shadab Khan not out 4

Extras (nb5) 5

Total (5 wkts, 45 overs) 160

Did not bat: Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Abbas, Rahat Ali

Fall: 1-2, 2-13, 3-14, 4-140, 5-152

Bowling: Murtagh 16-3-55-2; Rankin 12-1-57-1 (3nb); Thompson 11-4-31-1 (2nb); Kane 6-1-17-0

Result: Pakistan won by 5 wickets

Man of the Match: Kevin O’Brien (Ireland)

Umpires: Richard Illingworth and Nigel Llong (England). TV umpire: Mark Hawthorne (Ireland). Match referee: Chris Broad (England)

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