Ireland make positive start in Test debut

Irish hopes intact as bad weather derails Test debut

Ireland's introduction to Test cricket after 144-year wait ruined by rain

As luck would have it, Pakistan staged the second fight back, and this time they really did show stomach for the fight as Shadab and Ashraf stitched together an unbeaten 109-run stand for the seventh-wicket before the rain arrived and curtailed played by eleven overs.

With the Test very much in the balance, Ireland will have to impress with the bat when called upon just like they have with the ball.

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. Amir had picked the other wicket before lunch.

There was drama at an initially sun-drenched Malahide right from Saturday's first ball of this stand-alone match.

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Pakistan opener Azhar Ali attempted to scoot through for a quick single and Imam-ul-Haq, the nephew of former worldwide batsman Inzamam, collided with Niall O'Brien, forcing a delay while he was attended to.

Boyd Rankin, the 15th man and the first since Kepler Wessels (Australia and South Africa) 25 years ago to play Test cricket for two nations after making a lone appearance for England, had the honour of taking Ireland's first Test wicket.

But Imam, who hit a hundred on his one-day global debut against Sri Lanka a year ago, made fifties against both Kent and Northamptonshire in Pakistan's two warm-up matches.

A crowd of just under 5,000 gave plenty of vocal encouragement to Ireland and they were in full voice following Rankin and Murtagh's early strikes.

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Rankin, the former England worldwide and only Irish player with test experience, had the honour of Ireland's first test wicket when Azhar Ali (4) edged him to second slip in the eighth over.

Meanwhile Shafiq, in at 13 for two, was proud to play the innings Pakistan needed in the absence of retired batsmen Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan.

Babar Azam (14), pushing hard at a Murtagh delivery that left him off the pitch, was well-held by Paul Stirling at second slip.

And when Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed fell for 20, the tourists were 159 for six.

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But Shadab and Faheem turned the tide in style. The best of those came when Ashraf edged a ball from Rankin that could have been taken by either wicket-keeper, Niall O'Brien, or Gary Wilson at first slip. The second time was in a 71st over in which Ashraf plundered seamer Boyd Rankin for four boundaries to rush to his maiden half-century in 52 balls.

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