With the entire first-day’s play lost to rain, Ireland skipper William Porterfield won the toss and elected to bowl first on a juicy pitch at the Village, Malahide.
By the time stumps were drawn early due to bad light after 76 overs, Pakistan had reached 286-6 in their first-innings.
Here, we look at the key talking points from the historic day.
RANKIN CREATES HISTORY FOR IRELAND
Boyd Rankin became the 15th player to play Test cricket for two different nations when he took the field for Ireland on Saturday. The tall pacer had played a sole Test for England before switching his allegiance to the Irish.
The 33-year-old started excellently with the ball as Pakistan’s openers were put through a testing period. That pressure ultimately told with the final delivery of the eighth over when Rankin had Azhar Ali all squared-up. The Pakistan opener could only get an edge to a rising delivery as William Porterfield gleefully held on to a comfortable catch at first slip.
With that, Rankin had captured the first-ever Test wicket for Ireland and wrote himself into the history books.
IRELAND’S SHORT-BALL TACTICS PAY OFF IN MIDDLE SESSION
After Pakistan had lost their openers in consecutive deliveries in the opening session, Asad Shafiq and Haris Sohail had stabilized the innings with some slow progress. That all changed after lunch though as the visitors lost four wickets in the second session of the day.
Ireland’s pacers resorted to bending their backs and banging in the short deliveries as they targeted the rib-cages of the Pakistan batsmen. That tactic seemed to throw off the batsmen who started falling one by one to loose deliveries. Sohail, Babar Azam and skipper Sarfraz Ahmed all fell to loose shots away from the body as the hosts started imposing themselves.
Even Shafiq, who had batted well on the way to a half-century, made a huge lapse in concentration. Batting on 60, Shafiq hit a Rankin short-ball straight into the hands of square-leg as Pakistan went from 71-2 to 159-6.
SHADAB AND FAHEEM LEAD PAKISTAN FIGHTBACK
With Pakistan’s entire top-order back in the pavilion before tea, the job of resurrecting the innings fell on the young shoulders of Shadab Khan and debutant Faheem Ashraf.
Playing in only his second Test, Shadab showed remarkable composure and maturity as he displayed his all-round credentials. The 19-year-old was the primary aggressor as the two batsman started to form a burgeoning partnership. Shadab brought up his maiden half-century in Test cricket as Ireland’s bowlers started running out of ideas with the ball turning soft.
At the other end, Faheem started the slower of the two but quickly changed gears as he too brought up a half-century with the partnership going beyond the 100-run mark. Shadab had moved on to 52 while Faheem had motored on to 61 when bad light brought an early end to play.
Ireland won the toss and decided to field first in their inaugural Test against Pakistan in Dublin on Sunday after a washout on the first day.
No further rain delays are expected as Ireland become just the 11th Test playing nation.
Pakistan handed Test debuts to all-rounder Faheem Ashraf and top order batsman Imam-ul-Haq.
Pakistan lost both openers Imam and Azhar Ali in the opening session to reach 67-2 at lunch. Then, Ireland picked up four Pakistan wickets in the second session to reduce the visitors to 159-6. Shadab Khan and debutant Faheem Ashraf led Pakistan’s fightback with the bat as they out together an unbeaten 109-run stand for the seventh wicket.
The visitors has reached 268-6 when stumps were called early on the second day due to bad light.
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Inclement weather on Friday means that the Irish will have to wait until the second day to make their ‘official’ bow in the Test arena. Such was the incessant rain on the opening day at The Village, Malahide that even the toss was not possible.
The four remaining days of play possibly also means that the follow-on mark will be 150 instead of 200 runs when the two teams take the field on Saturday.
Pakistan were due to give maiden Test caps to opener Imam-ul-Haq and all-rounder Faheem Ashraf with Sarfraz Ahmed confirming that he would go in with the same side which beat Northamptonshire in a warm-up game.
The outlook for the coming days with regards to weather looks much better and Ireland will be hoping that the forecasts hold true as they wait to take the field for the first time in their Test whites.