Belfast Telegraph

Ireland fired up for historic first Test against Pakistan


By Ian Callender

Ireland's first opponents at the highest level of the game will be Pakistan and, while the date and venue of the inaugural Test match have still to be confirmed, all indications are that it will be at Malahide in the second week of May next year.

Barely 24 hours after the ICC - inadvertently or otherwise - announced the fixture, Cricket Ireland's Warren Deutrom and his Pakistan counterpart got their heads together at the Chief Executives' meeting in Auckland and confirmed the game, which will take place less than 11 months after Ireland and Afghanistan became the 11th and 12th Test nations.

In the end, all the premature ICC media release got wrong was the month - there was no chance of Ireland (or indeed England) hosting a Test match in April in our climate - but with Pakistan starting a Test match series in England on May 24, it will serve as an ideal warm-up for the tougher challenge ahead for Pakistan and give Ireland the glamour match they so desperately wanted in front of a home crowd for their debut Test.

Pakistan were, famously, the first team that Ireland defeated at their inaugural World Cup, and that wasn't lost on current captain William Porterfield when he heard the fixture was confirmed.

"It's fantastic news for Irish cricket. It's going to be a bit special and it's always great to be part of history," said Porterfield (right).

"There's a special affinity between ourselves and Pakistan going back to the 2007 World Cup and they've been regular tourists here over the past decade.

"Test cricket is the pinnacle of our sport and I know how much this game will mean to not only the players but all involved with Irish cricket.

"It'll be another step on what has been an incredible journey for our sport in a relatively short passage of time.

"It's sure to be an incredible experience for all involved. I know how much this will mean to all the players and just how much we all will look forward to our dream of being Test cricketers realised. I'm certain there will be an incredible atmosphere."

Some of the players who will be hoping to play in the historic match heard the news in Bangladesh after a tough day in the field with Ireland Wolves when Bangladesh A scored 284 to take a lead of 67 with still four first-innings wickets left.

The Wolves went through the pre-lunch session without taking a wicket, but in the first over after the break, after exactly 100 runs had been added, Stuart Thompson - the best bowler on the day - made the breakthrough and the tourists enjoyed a much better afternoon.

Andy McBrine, comfortably the most economical slow bowler, struck twice, including opener Sadman Islam caught on the boundary by Thompson for 108, while Nathan Smith and George Dockrell took the other wickets.

Scores: Ireland Wolves 1st Innings 255 (S Singh 121, A McBrine 57) Bangladesh 1st Innings 322-6 (Sadman Islam 108, Nazmul Hossain 69, Nural Hasan 51 not out, Yasir Ali 35, Mahadi Hasan 35; N Smith 2-42, A McBrine 2-63). Today 4.30-11.30am BST

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