Ireland's Very First Ball In Test Cricket Was A Dramatic One

The match against Pakistan at Malahide had to be abandoned

Fast bowler Boyd Rankin, who achieved his Test ambition for England in 2014 and returned to Ireland in 2016, is part of the golden generation of Irish cricketers who have been rewarded with places in the first Test squad.

Barely had the crowd's cheers subsided when Pakistan were 13-2 off the very next ball with Imam ul-Haq, who was injured in a collision in the game's first ball, lbw for seven to a Murtagh delivery that came back into him.

More than 5,000 spectators had paid to watch the historic day's play against Pakistan at Malahide but are now entitled to a full refund and, following the abandonment of Ireland's last home match against West Indies at Stormont, the compensation is not covered by CI's insurance.

Azhar Ali (4) and Imam-ul-Haq (7) were sent in to bat before a freakish start saw the latter involved in a nasty collision with both Tyrone Kane and wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien following the very first delivery.

But Haris Sohail quickly became the next victim as he was out for 31 and Babar Azam made 14 before Murtagh struck to reduce Pakistan to 104-4.

The 22-year-old was soon moving around but took some time before the physiotherapist helped him back to his feet, ready to face his first ball in Test cricket.

After an opening day washout, Ireland took advantage of seam conditions by making Pakistan bat and reducing the visitors to 159-6 in the second session.

The left-hander, who came into this match following fifties in Pakistan's two warm-up fixtures, against Kent and Northamptonshire, square-drove Murtagh for a stylish four.

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That left Pakistan 13 for one off the last ball of the eighth over.

After a few near run-outs, Pakistan's third-wicket duo settled in.

However, it did not take long for Ireland to make a stunning double strike.

Shafiq square-cut Kane for four, with left-hander Haris glancing Thompson for a legside boundary.

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

Rankin eventually tempted Shafiq to pull to square leg on 62, giving him, Murtagh and Stuart Thompson two wickets apiece.

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed would also fall before tea, Thompson taking his second wicket with Stirling again taking the catch at second slip after a wafted effort from the batsman.

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