The Pakistani bowlers were too hot to handle for the Irish…..
Half an hour into Ireland’s maiden Test innings, the new Test team found themselves in trouble at 5 for 3. The latest to depart was their captain. William Porterfield’s off-stump lay on the ground, which was wrecked by a ball from Mohammad Abbas that apparently swung too much and too quickly and thereby, did not allow Porterfield to judge it properly. A helpless Porterfield had to just walk away, hoping the others would handle the situation.
Lunch was taken immediately. When players returned from the 40-minute break, Pakistan hardly took any time to remove another Irish batsman. Another in-ducker from Abbas pinned Niall O’Brien leg before wicket. The wicketkeeper-batsman walked back with no runs to his name. Ireland had not even faced their first 50 balls in Test cricket and they were already four-down for just seven runs. According to reports, 109 former Ireland’s cricketers attended Day three of the Malahide Test and for sure, this situation was not pretty to witness.
After rain ruined the opening day of Ireland’s Test debut, the play had begun on the second day with Porterfield winning the toss. He put Pakistan to bat first and the Irish bowlers making full use of the greener pitches and conditions, gave the tourists a tough time. In addition to that Pakistan’s current team is relatively new so in terms of First-Class experience, the Irish players are more experienced – Ireland’s 1254 First-Class caps to Pakistan’s 816. But eventually what matters is how the team performs on the big stage and Ireland after a while lost its way. Things got worse when they were put to bat.
— President of Ireland (@PresidentIRL) May 13, 2018
That’s when they would have realised Test cricket is no cake walk. And they aren’t the first team to feel so. It took New Zealand 44 matches before recording their first win, India 24 and, most recently, Bangladesh 34.
But, the young Pakistan side should be given the due credit, especially the bowlers. Prior to this Test, the bowling department looked shaky. They were without their key spinner, Yasir Shah, who was out with a hip injury and their established pacers like Mohammad Amir and Rahat Ali had been struggling to find the right form. Their team’s mixture was dominated by new faces more than the old ones and the one-off Test against Ireland would give out a clear picture of what this side was capable of doing and if they would survive against England later on or not.
Talking of Amir, he had the responsibility to spearhead the pace attack, despite the fact that he has not been his best since his return in 2016, as he has only clinched 44 scalps at an average of 37.25. However, it was Amir, who made two crucial breakthroughs during Ireland’s first innings. he removed Porterfield, who was a threat with the bat and then he dismissed the set batsman Kevin O’Brien to completely derail the Irish batting line-up. It was good news for Pakistan when the five-Test old Abbas came to the party by picking up four scalps for 44 runs in 11 overs.
Although Rahat Ali went wicket-less, he maintained a low economy by bowling tight. He finished with figures of 18 runs in 7 overs at an economy of 2.57. On the other hand, debutant Faheem Ashraf, who top-scored with the bat with 83 runs, also bagged his maiden Test wicket. His inputs came as a major support to Amir and Co and that helped Pakistan to wreck the Irish line-up really soon. The hosts did not even last for a full 50 overs as they were bundled out for 130 in 47.2 overs.
Pakistan then forced the follow-on on the hosts, pressing for a victory. Earlier, Pakistan had made a brave move earlier on the third day when they had declared their innings half an hour before lunch. With the conditions aiding the seamers at that point, the decision worked wonderfully for Sarfraz Ahmed and Co.
— Mazher Arshad (@MazherArshad) May 13, 2018
By the time stumps arrived on Day three, Irish openers had managed to survive the Pakistani attack in their follow-on innings. Two catches were dropped in the final session – Sarfraz Ahmed dropping Joyce and Azhar Ali giving Porterfield a life at third slip – both catches were dropped of Amir’s bowling. From there on, both the batsmen used their experience to good use and showed immense resilience to put on a half-century stand and take Ireland to stumps with no damage.