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Three reasons why Ireland were competitive in their inaugural Test against Pakistan

Three reasons why Ireland were competitive in their inaugural Test against Pakistan

Pakistan chased 160 runs target with the loss of five wickets in their second innings.

In the on-going Pakistan Vs Ireland Test Match, Kevin O'Brien made a century on his debut.

Imam, in particular, looked at ease and was scampering between the wickets - a trait his uncle Inzamam-ul-Haq was not renowned for during his career - as Pakistan reached lunch 52 for three, needing 108 more.

Up stepped Kevin O'Brien, who became the first Irishman to score a century in test cricket while racking up an unbeaten 118.

Abbas wrapped up the innings, and his second five-for in Tests, when he bowled Rankin (6) and Tyrone Kane (14) off inside-edges - but it was then Ireland's pacemen who came to the fore.

Not since Australia's defeat of England in 1877 has a Test debutant won their opening match but Pakistan were struggling to build a partnership that could stop Ireland's bowlers.

Pakistan eventually closed out the game, securing 160-5 to take the inaugural test match, with Imam finishing 72 not out to cap off a fine debut display for him.

But after the break, Thompson upped the tempo and while O'Brien was content to nudge the singles, Thompson took 11 off an over from left-armer Rahat Ali and followed up with two more off Amir. Now Pakistan were in trouble on a green seamer against green opponents (in Test terms), with their two most-experienced batsmen back in the dressing room.

It was a heartening sign for Pakistan ahead of their upcoming two-Test series in England that will feature back-to-back fixtures at Lord's (May 24-28) and Headingley (June 1-5).

Pakistan bowling coach Azhar Mahmood suggested after stumps on Sunday that Amir's lengthy time away from the game allied to the fact he had been involved in all three worldwide formats-Tests, one-dayers and Twenty20s-since coming back had taken a toll on the swing bowler. But overall, all the lads are delighted and they all played a roll throughout the game, so it is great for ourselves and it gives us a lot of belief. Though Pakistan were 20 runs from victory at that stage Ireland refused to lie down, with Stuart Thompson getting skipper Sarfraz Ahmed out lbw on eight runs, but Imam kept his head amid all the chaos, and struck the winning runs.

"I think it was a fantastic team effort, yesterday belonged to Kevin and very well supported by Tommo and TK".

Ireland held up well to start with as openers, William Porterfield and Ed Joyce, put on 64 at the close of day three.

The performance against Pakistan was full of positives, and although the future test match against India will provide a completely different game and possible eye-opener on test cricket - the blocks are there for Ireland to produce a competitive Test cricket team. That's the character we've had and to be able to bring that into first Test is pleasing.

"But Test cricket is Test cricket for a reason, it's there in the name; you do get tested and we were after the first innings".


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