Ireland were never going to win it. Isn’t it?. They never stood a chance against a country that made its Test debut way back in 1952. Isn’t it? There were more detractors than believers for Test cricket’s latest entrants.
At the end of the game, Pakistan stamped its authority over Ireland. But at the end of four days of the see-saw battle in the historic Test, Ireland managed to make the result of the game secondary with an effort that is bound to carve a special niche in the cricketing folklore.
Not only that, the recently concluded game also made it clear that the real essence of this beautiful game lies in Test cricket. The beauty of the longest format of the game is that it can waddle along at snail’s pace for long and suddenly catch fire.
The One-off Test between Ireland and Pakistan also turned out in the same manner before the latter showcased their class to win the game by five wickets.
Ireland, however, will be hoping for a brighter future after their spirited performance against a team which was ranked number One in Tests not very long ago.
Resuming the final day on 319 for seven, Tyron Kane added two runs early to bring up the 50-run stand for the eighth-wicket before his partner – Kevin O’Brien, who had revived the hosts’ hopes with a historic century, fell off his first ball of the day.
Mohammad Abbas ended Ireland’s innings with two more wickets as Ireland posted 339, much better than their first innings total of 130.
With a sizeable run to defend and conditions favourable for pacers, Ireland had a good opportunity to give Pakistan a run for their money and they didn’t disappoint.
Despite defending a modest 160, Ireland gave Pakistan a mighty scare by reducing them to 14 for three. Azhar Ali was forced to play at an away going delivery by Tim Murtagh and edged it to Paul Stirling at slip region before Haris Sohail poked at a delivery angling away.
Murtagh then struck again to castle Asad Shafiq and leave Pakistan in all sorts of trouble.
However, it was not the precursor of the things that were to follow. Pakistan needed just one handy stand to calm down their nerves and they got it. Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam all but sealed the deal by adding 126 runs for the fourth wicket.
Two late wickets then added some interest to the game but Imam and skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed took the team home without any further setback
Brief scores – Ireland Vs Pakistan:
Pakistan 310/9 declare. (Faheem Ashraf 83, Asad Shafiq 62; Tim Murtagh 4-45, Stuart Thompson 3-62) & 160/5 (Imam-ul-Haq 74*, Babar Azam 59; Tim Murtagh 2-55) beat Ireland 130 (Kevin O’Brien 40; Mohammad Abbas 3-44, Shadab Khan 3-31) & 339 f/o (Kevin O’Brien 118, Stuart Thompson 53; Mohammad Abbas 5-66, Mohammad Amir 3-63) by 5 wickets.