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Porterfield and Joyce restore little Irish pride

 

By Ian Callender

When Mick Jagger turns up at a cricket match in Dublin it must be a special occasion but it was the Ireland batsmen who gave the crowd at Malahide the most Satisfaction in the final 100 minutes of the third day of their first Test.

Forced to follow on, 180 runs behind, captain William Porterfield and Ed Joyce shared Ireland's first half-century stand to reduce the deficit to 116 as they led the fightback after a horror start to their debut innings.

When Ireland were reduced to 7-4 in the first over after lunch yesterday, the doom and gloom merchants were predicting all sorts of calamities from the lowest ever Test match total (26) to the worst first innings total in an inaugural Test (South Africa's 84) to a defeat in two days.

None transpired as Ireland totalled 130 in reply to Pakistan's 310-9 declared but it was Ireland who ended the day, if not on top, then certainly with confidence that they can avoid the innings defeat, a fate which befell two of the previous 10 Test countries in their first Test.

Day 3 had been declared Past Players day and more than 120, from Godfrey Graham, then the youngest player to be capped by Ireland in 1954 to Max Sorensen, who retired last year turned up to be presented to the crowd - well one section of it because they posed for a photograph with their backs to the rest of the ground and then walked off again! Surely a walk around the ground would have been in order.

After all, this Test wouldn't have happened, as Porterfield pointed out, without the internationals who had gone before.

That ceremony took place during the tea interval but the day had started with the teams being presented to President Michael D Higgins (right with Porterfield) and he stayed around for the first two sessions - probably deciding to go before being upstaged by a certain Rolling Stone.

Tyrone Kane, the unluckiest bowler on the opening day - actually the second after the first was washed out - found that day three was no better as Faheen Khan was dropped by Andrew Balbirnie at second slip in the third over of the day and it was substitute Andy McBrine who couldn't hold on at third slip off Tim Murtagh to give the Pakistan debutant another life on 72.

McBrine was on the field because Gary Wilson had been hit on his right elbow during the warm-up and was at the nearby clinic getting an x-ray when Murtagh struck with the new ball and only returned when Stuart Thompson, who had Faheem caught behind for 83 and Murtagh claimed the eighth and ninth wickets in quick succession to prompt the declaration 40 minutes before lunch.

The session up to the first interval of the day was messier than Wilson's injury as Joyce and Balbirnie were lbw victims to the metronomic Mohammad Abbas and when Porterfield was bowled by beauty from left armer Mohammad Amir, Ireland had lost three wickets for no runs in 27 balls.

Abbas needed only five balls after the break to claim his third leg before decision from umpire Richard Illingworth with Niall O'Brien the latest Ireland casualty and everyone in the ground was fearing the worst for the newest Test nation. But, impressively, Paul Stirling and Kevin O'Brien, who hit Ireland's first boundary in Test cricket in the 10th over, counter-attacked determinedly before Stirling got too excited, rashly pulled at Faheen's third ball, was beaten for pace and the ball lobbed gently to mid-off.

Thompson hung around for 20 balls while O'Brien hit four boundaries to take Ireland past the lowest previous Test score this year - England's 58 against New Zealand, proving that nightmare innings happen to established Test sides - before the Eglinton all-rounder played for non-existent turn against Shadab Khan and edged to gully.

The appearance of Wilson at the fall of the seventh wicket, after just 23 overs, was much earlier than he or Ireland would have wanted, but two hours later he was still there, 33 not out, having battled through the pain barrier to hit five boundaries.

Unfortunately, he had run of partrners but not before Boyd Rankin had hit a breezy 16, including two fours in three balls off Abbas, the first bringing up the team's 100, and Tim Murtagh's wicket, caught at short leg of leg-spinner Shadab ended the innings.

Remarkably, Pakistan hadn't enforced the follow-on in a Test match since 2002 but this time captain Sarfraz had no hesitation and just after 5 o'clock Joyce and Porterfield were back in the middle.

They both should have been back in the pavilion inside five overs but Joyce was dropped by Sarfraz behind the stumps before he had scored and the Ireland captain at third slip. Encouragingly they batted blamelessly after that and they received another boost just before the close when Amir had to leave the field mid-over with a knee injury.

Whether he bowls today, will depend on the state of the game. Ireland, perversely, will hope he will be needed.

Scoreboard

PAKISTAN 1ST INNINGS

Azhar Ali c Porterfield b Rankin 4

Imam-ul-Haq lbw Murtagh 7

Haris Sohail cl P'field b Thompson 31

Asad Shafiq c Balbirnie b Rankin 62

Babar Azam c Stirling b Murtagh 14

S Ahmed c Stirling b Thompson 20

Shadab Khan lbw b Murtagh 55

F Ashraf c N O'Brien b Thompson 83

Mo. Amir c N O'Brien b Murtagh 13

Mohammad Abbas not out 4

Rahat Ali not out 0

Extras (1b 10lb 4nb 2w) 17

Total (9 wkts dec, 96 overs) 310

Fall: 1-13 2-13 3-71 4-104 5-153 6-159 7-276 8-304 9-306

Bowling: T Murtagh 25-5-45-4, B Rankin 21-3-75-2, T Kane 20-2-86-0, S Thompson 22-4-62-3, K O'Brien 6-1-20-0, P Stirling 2-0-11-0

IRELAND 1ST INNINGS

E Joyce lbw b Abbas 4

W Porterfield b Amir 1

A Balbirnie lbw b Abbas 0

N O'Brien lbw b Abbas 0

P Stirling c Babar b Faheem 17

K O'Brien c Imam b Amir 40

S Thompson lbw b Shadab 3

T Kane c Babar b Shadab 0

G Wilson not out 33

B Rankin c Sarfraz b Abbas 16

T Murtagh c Imam b Shadab 5

Extras (8b 1lb 1w) 10

Total (47.2 overs) 130

Fall: 1-5 2-5 3-5 4-7 5-36 6-61 7-61 8-73 9-107

Bowling: Mohammad Amir 10-5-9-2, Mohammad Abbas 11-4-44-4, Rahat Ali 7-0-18-0, Faheem Ashraf 5-2-18-1, Shadam Khan 13.2-3-31-3, Haris Sohail 1-0-1-0

IRELAND 2ND INNINGS

E Joyce not out 39

W Porterfield not out 23

Extras (1b 1nb) 2

Total (0 wkts, 26 overs) 64

Bowling: Mohammad Amir 3.3-2-2-0, Mohammad Abbas 6-2-13-0, Rahat Ali 6-2-18-0, Faheem Ashraf 6-2-15-0, Shadab Khan 4.4-1-15-0

Today: 11am-6.30pm

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