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Three reasons why Ireland were competitive in their inaugural Test against Pakistan

16 Mai 2018

The Wicklow wonder and man of the match, Ireland's first Test centurion Kevin O'Brien was a little disapointed naturally: "A slightly better morning session for us and we could have pushed Pakistan harder, it was disappointing not to get those extra 40/50 runs".

Ireland, following on, began the day 116 runs behind Pakistan but with all 10 second-innings wickets in hand.

But after Tyrone Kane had seen out Tuesday's opening over from Mohammad Amir, who took his 100th Test wicket on Monday, Abbas struck.

The discipline in Ireland's second innings at odds with their first showing, when they were knocked over for just 130.

Ireland's fightback in this Test match was largely made possible by a 114-run stand for the seventh wicket between O'Brien and Stuart Thompson.

Ireland can be extremely proud and their display gave a basis to compete on equal terms and they certainly do not look like the new boys of Test cricket.

Some of their elders may have been hooked by O'Brien's previous global ton - a record-breaking 50-ball effort in the World Cup victory over England in 2011.

Given Pakistan's propensity to collapse on the final day of a Test, the Irish had their tails up as they set the visitors a tricky target of 160.

Although disappointed not to defy history and pull off a famous win, Ireland will be able to take great heart from their performance and certainly a gloriously fulfilling week leaves huge grounds for optimism going forward.

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.

Niall O'Brien was the hero when Ireland beat Pakistan at the 2007 World Cup, scoring a calm and assured 72 amid all the madness as Trent Johnston's team of part-timers shocked the world of cricket at Sabina Park, Kingston.

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.

And 94 for three became 95 for four when Amir had Porterfield (32) edging to wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed, the Pakistan captain. The resolve of O'Brien and Thompson in batting them back into the game and their spirited persistence today showed any future opponents that they will be no pushover in Test cricket.

Three reasons why Ireland were competitive in their inaugural Test against Pakistan