After being a part of the British cricket for the past 141 years, Ireland has made their Test debut on May 11. How was their debut in the anointing family of cricket? The answer is now known to all. Despite not having a plus, The Irish have passed the test of Test match cricket with a dignity. Anyway, if you have the lowest knowledge of cricket, at least it will not say ‘they manage to pass somehow.”
Let’s first take a look at the match summary with a glance
Ireland v Pakistan, Malahide, Dublin
Pakistan 1st Innings 310/9dec.(96 overs)
F Ashraf 83 Murtagh 4/45
Ireland 1st innings 130 AllOut(47.2 overs)
O’Brien 40 Abbas 4/44
Ireland 2nd Innings (FO) 339 AllOut (129.3 overs)
O’Brien 118 Abbas 5/66
Pakistan 2nd Innings 160/5 (45 overs)
Imam-ul-Haq 74* Murtagh 2/55
Actually, the Irish debut has to be on 11th, but the hostile weather let it happen one day later. That means their Test debut came with a four-day Test match.
Anyway, after winning the toss, Irish captain William Porterfield invited the young Pakistani batting line-up to bat. And his bowlers responded to this decision in a quick period of time. Before the tea break, they had destroyed Pakistan’s top and the middle of both orders. After losing 6 wickets for just 159 runs, inexperienced Irish Test fielders came as the rescuers for Pakistanis. After being dropped twice, Pakistani batsman Fahim Ashraf manage to bring a fairly good total of 309 runs for his team.
Then the question was how long the inexperienced Irish batting lineup could stand in front of one of the best pace attacks in the world. That misdoubt came true when Ireland got collapsed at just 130 runs in their first innings.
Pakistan captain Sarfaraz sent them to bat again in the follow-on. But the Irish started their 2nd innings quite handsomely. Ireland finished the 3rd day on 65 without loss in the second innings. But they lost their way in the first session of day 4.
While Ireland was losing wickets at regular intervals, then the experienced Kevin O’Brien along with Thomson became the saviour for the Irish. They put a 114-run 7th wicket partnership together, and the Irish team started to dreaming of a big lead. Kevin O’Brien became the only fourth player in Test history to score an epic century in his country’s debut Test match.
But the second innings of the Irish ended in the early part of the fifth day. They were able to score only 20 runs from the last three wickets. Pakistan had to chase only 160 in their second innings. The newborn Test nation Ireland took 3 wickets for Pakistan in just 14 runs and started to believe they could defend this low total.
But Injamam’s nephew Imam-ul-Haq, along with another batsman Babar Azam, explained the difference between dream and reality to the Irish. The young batsman left the field after winning the match. Though the Irish couldn’t able make an Irish fairytale again they have made their place in the heart of the cricket enthusiasts.
However, Ireland announced its existence to the cricket world by defeating Pakistan back in 2007 World Cup. But they couldn’t qualify the England World cup in the next year. In this era of globalization, the ICC shrunk the World Cup into a 10-team tournament, that’s why Ireland couldn’t make it to the World Cup.
This hurts them even after playing their debut Test. As Porterfield stays says after the game, “(World Cup) gives you the chance to an uproar, it’s very disappointing to drop out due to 10-team World Cup, I think we could be able to play Test if we didn’t have a chance to play the World Cup.”
Not only the Irish, without playing at the World Cup, it would be so tough for us to play the Test Cricket. However, we must admit this as the biggest failures of ICC that they are not being able to ensure the opportunities to play the World Cup for the top 12 Test playing nations.