Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf lead Pakistan's fightback and other takeaways as Ireland make Test debut

Waseem Ahmed 21:27 12/05/2018
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Shadab Khan registered his maiden Test fifty.

Ireland’s wait for Test cricket was finally over on Saturday as the weather ultimately relented on the second day of the match against Pakistan at Dublin.

With the entire first-day’s play lost to rain, Ireland skipper William Porterfield won the toss and elected to bowl first on a juicy pitch at the Village, Malahide.

By the time stumps were drawn early due to bad light after 76 overs, Pakistan had reached 286-6 in their first-innings.

Here, we look at the key talking points from the historic day.

RANKIN CREATES HISTORY FOR IRELAND

Boyd Rankin became the 15th player to play Test cricket for two different nations when he took the field for Ireland on Saturday. The tall pacer had played a sole Test for England before switching his allegiance to the Irish.

The 33-year-old started excellently with the ball as Pakistan’s openers were put through a testing period. That pressure ultimately told with the final delivery of the eighth over when Rankin had Azhar Ali all squared-up. The Pakistan opener could only get an edge to a rising delivery as William Porterfield gleefully held on to a comfortable catch at first slip.

With that, Rankin had captured the first-ever Test wicket for Ireland and wrote himself into the history books.

Rankin snatched Ireland's first-ever Test dismissal.

Rankin snatched Ireland’s first-ever Test dismissal.

IRELAND’S SHORT-BALL TACTICS PAY OFF IN MIDDLE SESSION

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. That all changed after lunch though as the visitors lost four wickets in the second session of the day.

Ireland’s pacers resorted to bending their backs and banging in the short deliveries as they targeted the rib-cages of the Pakistan batsmen. That tactic seemed to throw off the batsmen who started falling one by one to loose deliveries. Sohail, Babar Azam and skipper Sarfraz Ahmed all fell to loose shots away from the body as the hosts started imposing themselves.

Even Shafiq, who had batted well on the way to a half-century, made a huge lapse in concentration. Batting on 60, Shafiq hit a Rankin short-ball straight into the hands of square-leg as Pakistan went from 71-2 to 159-6.

Shafiq fell prey to a bouncer from Rankin.

Shafiq fell prey to a bouncer from Rankin.

SHADAB AND FAHEEM LEAD PAKISTAN FIGHTBACK

With Pakistan’s entire top-order back in the pavilion before tea, the job of resurrecting the innings fell on the young shoulders of Shadab Khan and debutant Faheem Ashraf.

Playing in only his second Test, Shadab showed remarkable composure and maturity as he displayed his all-round credentials. The 19-year-old was the primary aggressor as the two batsman started to form a burgeoning partnership. Shadab brought up his maiden half-century in Test cricket as Ireland’s bowlers started running out of ideas with the ball turning soft.

At the other end, Faheem started the slower of the two but quickly changed gears as he too brought up a half-century with the partnership going beyond the 100-run mark. Shadab had moved on to 52 while Faheem had motored on to 61 when bad light brought an early end to play.

Faheem Ashraf registered a half-century on his Test debut.

Faheem Ashraf registered a half-century on his Test debut.

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