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Ireland lose inaugural Test despite Pakistan wobble

by Wisden Staff 1 minute read

Ireland fought hard on the final day at Malahide but were eventually beaten by Pakistan by five wickets.

Kevin O’Brien, whose wonderful 118 had brought his side back into the game on Monday, was out caught at slip to his first ball of the day attempting a big drive off Mohammad Abbas, and Ireland added just 20 to their overnight total of 319.

That left Pakistan needing 160 to win and Ireland’s fans sensed a stunning comeback win when their side reduced the tourists to 14-3. Tim Murtagh had the new ball moving in the air and off the seam to have Azhar Ali caught at first slip by Paul Stirling and Asad Shafiq clean bowled, while Boyd Rankin had Haris Sohail caught in the gully by Ed Joyce.

But then Imam-ul-Haq – the debutant 22-year-old left-hand opener and nephew of Inzamam – and Babar Azam put on the day’s defining partnership. The pair put on 126 and while a running mix-up led to Babar’s demise for 59, Imam batted through for 74*. Ireland’s fightback lost its momentum and the late wicket of Sarfraz Ahmed proved a mere consolation.

It had been a spirited effort from Ireland to take things this far, though. Yesterday, they had been staring down the barrel of an innings-defeat but managed to create a nervy final day for the tourists here. While they will be disappointed with their first-innings batting effort in particular, the excitement amongst Irish fans for the historic debut Test match remain undimmed throughout.

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