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Injured Wilson defies pain to spearhead an Irish fightback

 

By Ian Callender

Gary Wilson batted for almost two hours yesterday with a suspected broken elbow after being hit in the warm-up for the third day's play of Ireland's inaugural Test match.

The Derbyshire professional helped Ireland to a first innings total of 130 against Pakistan at Malahide with an undefeated 33, but with two days remaining, Ireland are still 116 runs behind. However, after an unbeaten partnership of 64 between captain William Porterfield and Ed Joyce, they still have all 10 second innings wickets remaining.

Wilson, though, will need a scan before he knows if he can help the team today.

"I was batting and I asked Ben Smith (Ireland's batting coach) to come around the wicket to replicate their left-armers and one just lifted off a length and clocked me in the back elbow," said the Holywood man.

"So I went for an X-ray and it might be (broken) but it's not confirmed.

"I knew there was a chance I was going to have to bat at some stage today. I didn't want to miss a chance to bat in a Test match, they just drugged me up and I got out there and got on with it.

"It was pretty sore, but the adrenalin kicked in and I was able to get through it and got us up to 130. But tomorrow's another day, hopefully with a bit of ice overnight, I might be okay.

"The position we are in is probably not ideal, not where we want to be, but the boys at the end there were unbelievable. To go back out, that showed a lot of guts."

Joyce admitted he wanted to "get back out there again and give it another go" after his first innings failure, when the top four were all dismissed with just seven runs on the scoreboard. And he wasn't surprised by Pakistan's decision to ask them to follow-on.

"It certainly suited our bowlers, they didn't want to go out again," said Joyce. "They had a long first innings and we didn't bat long enough in our first innings which was tough on them. They (Pakistan) were probably looking at the forecast, Tuesday isn't great, and we didn't bat very well in the first innings, so they thought they might roll us again and if they had taken their chances it may have been different, but I thought myself and William played very well."

Ireland's most experienced batsman admitted that nerves played a part in their first innings collapse but paid credit to the opening bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Abbas.

"I always get nervous before I bat, so if I'm not nervous before I bat there is something wrong, but it's a Test match and they are a high quality attack.

"Abbas didn't miss and Amir is a handful, in the second innings his first three overs were probably the best I've faced. So I had a bit of luck getting dropped in the first over and William did as well but looking at their innings that's the way it's gone. You need a bit of luck to get runs on that wicket and hopefully we get some more tomorrow. The first session is really important."

Joyce, playing his 151st and probably last match for Ireland, also praised the Ireland bowlers.

On a flat wicket we were happy with 310 but thought we deserved better. If we taken our catches it could have been 200.

"Tim Murtagh and Boyd Rankin are high quality bowlers and a special mention for Stu Thompson who has had a bit of criticism, but he has done really well in this game, so hopefully there's more to come from him."

Belfast Telegraph

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