Ireland start strong but Faheem and Shadab keep Pakistan in the game

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Ireland made a brilliant start to Test cricket on day two of their Test against Pakistan at Malahide reducing the tourists to 159 for 6 before an unbroken 109 run stand between Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf saved the day for the tourists.

When lightning stopped play Pakistan were 268 for 6 and Shadab (52*) and Faheem (61*) were looking in control at the crease.

But earlier in the day Ireland had rattled Pakistan’s top order with nagging lines and lengths from Tim Murtagh, Boyd Rankin and Stuart Thompson.

The day started eventfully enough with Debutant Imam-ul-Haq nearly managing to run himself out off the first Irish ball in Test cricket.

He wound up colliding with the wicketkeeper and short leg as he made his ground and would require treatment before continuing.

Azhar Ali (4) became Rankin’s first Test victim as the quick also claimed the first Test wicket for Ireland when William Porterfield caught the opener in the gully.

The very next ball saw Imam trapped leg before for just 7 as Tim Murtagh got in on the act.

Haris Sohail and Asad Shafiq steadied the ship for a shaky looking Pakistan taking them to lunch on 69 for 2 and the match quite even.

Sohail (31) fell to a stunning low catch from Porterfield that gave Thompson his first Test wicket and left Pakistan 71 for 3.

Pakistan would have expected more from Babar Azam (14) who couldn’t hang on with Shafiq for longer than nine overs before nicking off to Murtagh.

The wickets of Shafiq (62) and Sarfaraz Ahmed (20) left Pakistan in all sorts at 159 for 6 and their last two recognized batsmen at the crease.

Debutant Faheem was a stark contrast with fellow newbie Imam, assured and attacking where Imam struggled for fluency and looked nervy.

Faheem blasted his way to 61 off just 69 balls while Shadab showed that he has to be considered an allrounder.

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