Imam-ul-Haq guides Pakistan to victory over test debutant Ireland

Kevin O'Brien slammed the first Test hundred for Ireland

Kevin O’Brien slammed the first Test hundred for Ireland

Ireland put up a great fight in their second innings as Kevin O'Brien scored his maiden Test century and Steve Thompson a half century but it was not to be as Pakistan chased down 160 on the final day losing only five wickets.

Starting the day on 319 for seven with Kevin O'Brien resuming on 118, Ireland were only able to add 20 runs to their overnight total to set Pakistan a target of 160. Ireland were fancying their chances by picking three wickets for 14 runs before Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam bailed Pakistan out of troubles.

That knock ended on 118 to his first ball on Tuesday and despite further fireworks early in Pakistan's innings, Ireland were unable to record what would have been only the fourth win in Test history for a side following on.

But of course, it would just take one good partnership to break the back of this Test target and young opener Imam-ul-Haq proved the right man to take back control of the match for Pakistan.

There was no let up from Ireland and Murtagh claimed his sixth wicket of the match by bowling Asad Shafiq (1), leaving Pakistan three down inside five overs.

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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.

He had nine wickets for the match.

"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". Abbas pocketed the last two wickets, as well, to finish with his second five-for in six Tests.

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

Much like his older brother, he was positive from the start, undoubtedly boosted by being the first-innings' top scorer, and after getting off the mark first ball with an easy single he hit two of his next eight balls to the boundary.

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Monday also saw Pakistan's Mohammad Amir take his 100th Test wicket, but the paceman was struggling with a knee injury.

Although it was nearly inevitable that the upset was too far gone, Ireland further added to a respectable scoreline and outstanding match in general producing a further outing through Stuart Thompson's dismissal of Safraz Ahmed for 8, Pakistan now at 152-5. There were a hell of a lot of good things to come out of this game, we played a lot of good cricket.

The performance against Pakistan was full of positives, and although the future test match against India will provide a completely different game and possible eye-opener on test cricket - the blocks are there for Ireland to produce a competitive Test cricket team.

Ireland doesn't play another test this summer as it eases into life in the longer format.

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