Ireland beaten by Pakistan after gutsy debut Test effort

14 May 2018 Kevin O'Brien of Ireland celebrates after scoring a century during day four of the International Cricket Test match between Ireland and Pakistan at Malahide in Co. Dublin

The 11th Test nation's optimism began to dissipate with Imam and Azam at the crease, though the former was fortunate an edge dropped short off Murtagh and the latter was nearly undone by a Rankin yorker.

Murtagh gave Ireland a flying start with the ball on the final day. O'Brien going on to a big hundred would have been the first target, but he could only lean on his bat handle and curse himself after driving hard at Mohammad Abbas in the second over of the day and sending a simple catch to slip.

Imam showed his maturity and class to guide the tourists away from potential embarrassment, scoring the winning runs to finish on 74 not out as Pakistan reached 160-5 just before tea.

Murtagh had Azhar Ali (2) caught at slip fourth ball and then bowled Asad Shafiq (1) through the gate midway through the fifth over, with his wickets sandwiching Rankin's dismissal of Sohail (7) - Sohail steering low to Ed Joyce at gully after Rankin came close to overstepping.

O'Brien, who became Ireland's first-ever test centurion on Monday, was out to the first ball he faced, but Tim Murtagh and Boyd Rankin ploughed into Pakistan's batting lineup early on to add a touch of drama to the proceedings.

Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam were tasked with rebuilding the Pakistan innings and ensuring their side avoided an ignominious defeat. After that the bowlers did a fantastic job to restrict the hosts to 130.

Ireland might have been waiting a long time for Test cricket, but based on the evidence of their maiden match in Malahide, Test cricket might well have been waiting even longer for Ireland.

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But at lunch Pakistan were 52 for three, still needing a further 108 runs to win, with left-handed opener Imam - the nephew of selection chief and former Pakistan batsman Inzamam-ul-Haq - 33 not out and Babar Azam nine not out.

"We've just got to start off well tomorrow, try and get as many runs as we can and if we get a crack at them try and get them a couple down early and see where we go from there".

In a match which saw the first day washed out, Pakistan dominated day two and three of the Test match by declaring their first innings on 310-9.

Through Imam and Babar Azam though, Pakistan rallied to take lunch at 52/3. He is also the 15th player to represent two countries in Test cricket and first in the last 25 years.

And only three teams - one for every century in which Test cricket has been played - have won after following-on, with South Africa in 1894, England in 1981 and India at Kolkata in 2001, all beating Australia having been sent back into bat. There were a hell of a lot of good things to come out of this game, we played a lot of good cricket.

Pakistan VS Ireland test match initially restricted to four days as the rain dishearted the fans on Friday.

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