Ireland v Pakistan: Hosts impress in inaugural Test

Irish hopes intact as bad weather derails Test debut

Irish hopes intact as bad weather derails Test debut

A day after Ireland's players were seen skulking around in the pavilion as rain dashed their hopes of an ideal start to their Test career, the sun shone brightly on Saturday (May 12) and those at The Village in Malahide were in for a treat as the hosts picked up six wickets to reduce Pakistan to 268 after rain forced stumps on the second day of the one-off Test.

After a few near run-outs, Pakistan's third-wicket duo settled in - Shafiq square-cut Kane for four, with left-hander Haris Sohail glancing Stuart Thompson for a legside boundary.

Debutant Imam ul-Haq (7) went the very next ball, to Tim Murtagh, struck on the knee roll and given out leg before wicket, leaving Pakistan at 13-2.

An expectant crowd of nearly 6,000 filled the temporary stands in anticipation of witnessing a piece of sporting history, with Tim Murtagh, the Middlesex seamer, delivering the historic first ball - and it wasn't without drama.

The ball had travelled just a couple of feet from the stumps and wicket-keeper Niall O'Brien and fielder Tyrone Kane both darted towards the ball while Ul-Haq, on Test debut, dived to make his ground.

Rain washed out the whole of Friday's scheduled first day but a day later grey clouds had been replaced by sunny blue skies as Ireland, from the moment of the toss, officially became the 11th nation to play men's Test cricket.

Former England global Rankin had the honour of taking Ireland's first-ever Test wicket when Azhar Ali (4) edged him to second slip in the grounds of Malahide Castle, just north of Dublin.

Israel shuts down Gaza border crossing damaged by Palestinian protesters
It accused the protesters of being "under the auspices of Hamas", the group that runs the Gaza strip, without providing evidence. The death raises to 42 the number of Palestinians shot dead by Israeli forces since weekly protests began on March 30.

The batsman was left stricken on the turf but after receiving several minutes of treatment from the Pakistan physio, was able to carry on.

Murtagh had two for 30 in 14 overs, Rankin two for 33 in 14 and Thompson a slightly more expensive two for 47 in 13, with Ireland opting against including a specialist spinner in their XI.

It was not the start either side wanted with Pakistan keen to avoid early wickets and Ireland desperate to get on with the game after the Friday washout cost Cricket Ireland €75,000 (£66,000) in ticket refunds. Shadab (52) and Faheem (61) helped the sinking ship with their unbeaten 109-run partnership.

Pakistan, 67-2 at lunch, lost their third wicket soon afterwards when Haris (31) was caught in the gully by Porterfield off Thompson.

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed (20) was caught by Stirling in the slips off Thompson.

Ashraf was dropped twice at first slip by Gary Wilson, on 24 and 36.

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