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Ireland set to make Test splash when sun appears



Blown away: Umpire Nigel Llong is amused as colleague Richard Illingworth bears brunt of the Dublin weather

Blown away: Umpire Nigel Llong is amused as colleague Richard Illingworth bears brunt of the Dublin weather

Blown away: Umpire Nigel Llong is amused as colleague Richard Illingworth bears brunt of the Dublin weather

Cricket Ireland is set to lose around £65,000 after their first day of Test cricket was abandoned without a ball bowled.

More than 5,000 spectators had paid to watch the historic day's play against Pakistan at Malahide but are now entitled to a full refund and, following the abandonment of Ireland's last home match against West Indies at Stormont, the compensation is not covered by CI's insurance.

"Every time you have to pay out, your insurance premium goes up and the premium we were offered for this match was so prohibitive to be pointless," said CI chief executive Warren Deutrom.

"But we don't look at losses on a match by match basis, rather year by year, and for most countries Test cricket, apart from England-Australia which is the obvious exception, is a loss leader, with the majority of money made from white-ball cricket.

"And we are starting very well with two T20s against India (next month) so luckily that will help us mop up - excuse the pun - any losses from this match should they be incurred."

Ironically, 10 minutes after umpires Richard Illingworth and Nigel Llong abandoned play, the sun came out, and frustrated spectators were asking had the decision been made too soon? But Deutrom agreed with the decision.

"A part of me was thinking, as we were getting to three o'clock and the rain was hammering down, 'you know what, even if the skies had cleared and the umpires said we could go out for a number of overs, say at five o'clock, it would have been an underwhelming, inappropriate way to make our bow in Test cricket'," he said.

"Now the rain has stopped, the ground staff will be working hard and head groundsman Phil Frost said if we can clear this overnight, the sun shines tomorrow, that is a more appropriate opportunity to start in front of a full house, or as many as we can get. We have pre-sold 4,000 and with good weather we should get a number of walk-ups and it will be a more appropriate environment to bowl our first ball in Test cricket."

Play today is scheduled to start at the normal time of 11am but to make up for the lost play, a minimum of 98 overs will be bowled on the next four days with the new close of play at 6.30pm or 7pm to complete the overs.

Despite being the first team to lose their entire opening day of Test match cricket, Deutrom refused to be deflated.

"I don't want to go round with a massively long face projecting misery, because it isn't, we are still hugely proud, there are still four days left in the match and, who knows, in the record books it may say we took the game to the fifth day," he said.

And on the nine previous occasions only Zimbabwe have managed that and, apart from the first Test when Australia beat England, are the only side to avoid losing their inaugural Test.

They had to bat 280 overs (214 in the first innings) in Harare against India to achieve that and, while Ireland should not have to bat that long if they are to claim what would be a memorable draw, with a good forecast today Boyd Rankin should finally win his second Test cap and 10 other proud players - Craig Young, Stuart Thompson and James Shannon are expected to miss out - will, finally, win their first.

After waiting all these years, what's another 24 hours.

Belfast Telegraph