International Cricket

Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam save Pakistan the blushes as Ireland’s Test debut ends in 5-wicket defeat

The duo helped the team recover from 14/3 as Ireland sniffed a miracle after setting a target of 160 following on.

Ireland’s debut in Test cricket ended in a five-wicket defeat as Pakistan debutant Imam-ul-Haq hit an unbeaten 74 at Malahide on Tuesday.

Set a seemingly modest 160 to win on the last day, Pakistan collapsed to 14 for three, having made Ireland follow-on earlier in the match.

Imam-ul-Haq, the nephew of selection chief and former Test batsman Inzamam-ul-Haq, saw the tourists to victory with a total of 160 for five.

Together with Babar Azam (59) he kept Ireland at bay during a fourth-wicket partnership of 126.

Earlier, Ireland were dismissed for 339 in their second innings.

Kevin O’Brien, who on Monday became the first Ireland batsman to score a Test hundred, fell to his first ball on Tuesday as Mohammad Abbas had him caught at slip for 118.

Pace bowler Abbas polished off the tail on his way to figures of five for 66.

Pakistan now have a two-day warm-up match against Leicestershire this weekend before facing England in the first of a two-Test series at Lord’s starting on May 24.

Brief scores:
Pakistan 1st Inns: 310/9 dec (Faheem Ashraf 83, Asad Shafiq 62, Shadab Khan 55; T Murtagh 4/45, S Thompson 3/62); Ireland 1st Inns: 130 (Mohammad Abbas 4/44, Shadab Khan 3/31).
Ireland 2nd Inns (following-on): 339 (K O’Brien 118, S Thompson 53; Mohammad Abbas 5/66, Mohammad Amir 3/63); Pakistan 2nd Inns: 160/5 (Imam-ul-Haq 74 no, Babar Azam 59).
Result: Pakistan won by 5 wkts.

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