Ireland Test debut ends in five-wicket defeat by Pakistan

Kevin O'Brien

Ireland's first Test match in global cricket took a lengthy little spell of 144 years to take place but it started with a bang as, in the opening ball of the match, two Irish players collided firmly with Pakistan batsman Imam-ul-Haq, leaving him sprawled on the deck.

Earlier, Mohammad Abbas, benefiting from plenty of swing movement in overcast conditions, took the final three wickets of Ireland's second innings including O'Brien, who slashed at a wide one and edged to first slip.

Imam shared a vital 126-run stand with Babar Azam (59) for the fourth wicket.

The hosts began the day on 319-7 thanks to Kevin O'Brien's belligerent knock but Ireland's maiden Test centurion was caught off his first ball of the day.

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.

Ireland will, naturally, look back on their first innings when they were bowled out for 130 as the key passage of play in the Test and ultimately that's what lost them the game, particularly when you consider how well they performed either side of the batting collapse.

"How we went about that to get up close to 350 just showed what we've got in the changing rooms and the passion that we've got". At that stage, they were still 116 runs behind.

Pakistan struggled to complete a relatively modest run-chase against Sri Lanka previous year and a furious bowling spell from Ireland's seamers sent a thrill of expectation around the ground.

However, debutant Imam and Babar maintained their composure to combine for 38 runs before lunch and their alliance continued well into the afternoon after the latter was dropped by Andrew Balbirnie off Murtagh on nine.

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Kevin O'Brien batted for over five hours and faced 216 deliveries en route to his historic Test century on Monday.

From there, they dragged themselves back into the match and played their way into contention going into the final day against a Test nation stalwart as Pakistan.

The now 26-year-old Amir's cricket career nearly came to an end following his involvement in a spot-fixing scandal during a 2010 Test against England at Lord's.

Soon after, the tourists were breathing a sigh of relief, as Imam, who finished with an unbeaten 74, completed a five-wicket win.

However, O'Brien's incredible performance helped his side gain a foothold in the match, building a lead of 139 ahead of today's final innings.

Boyd Rankin followed up closely with another outing leaving Pakistan 13-2 - before Murtagh claimed his second of the innings bowling out Asad Shafiq as Pakistan moved to 14-3.

The day didn't start as brightly for the Irish boys as they would've hoped.

Ireland also had a chance to become the third team, after England and India, to win a Test after following on.

What were your highlights from Ireland's first ever Test match?

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