IRE vs PAK, One-off Test, Day 5 Review: Pakistan emerge victorious against a spirited Irish unit
Despite bowling incredibly well early on the second day, Ireland failed to negate the inevitable defeat against a much stronger unit in Pakistan. After bowling the hosts out for a below-par total in the first innings, Kevin O’Brien’s historic century put Ireland in command for a while, but Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam steered their side home avoiding further complications.
Earlier on the day, it barely took 30 minutes for the Pakistani bowlers to pack the Irish tail. Kevin’s sensational innings came to an end thanks to a spectacular delivery from Mohammad Abbas. A decent full delivery induced a drive from Kevin and the ball went straight to the first slip, where Haris Sohail made no mistake.
Wickets kept tumbling like a pack of cards after that. The tailenders failed to resist the incredible fast bowling from Mohammad Abbas. The fast bowler picked up a brilliant five-fer and Ireland got bowled out for 339 runs. It didn’t take long for Pakistan to wrap things up and they truly showed why they’re called a world-class bowling unit.
Ireland wins hearts, but the visitors romp through
With Pakistan needing just 160 runs to win the Test, the odds were never going to favor the hosts. But something remarkable happened in the first session of the final day, which summed up why everyone loves Test cricket so much. A marvellous bowling display from Ireland put the visitors on the backfoot and sparked hopes of a remarkable comeback.
Tim Murtagh dismissed Azhar Ali for just 2 runs in the very first over of the innings, commencing their defense in a grandstand fashion. Boyd Rankin then joined the party to remove Haris Sohail. The southpaw tried to cut a short-of-length delivery and ended up giving a straightforward catch to the gully fielder.
Tim Murtagh then bowled one of the best balls of the game to dismiss the dangerous Asad Shafiq. Murtagh bowled it around the good length area and the cherry darted sharply into the sticks to disturb the timber. It was a dream start for the hosts, but their happiness didn’t last for a long period thanks to two wonderful innings from two batters who were thirsty to prove themselves.
Babar Azam has been criticized for his poor run in the longest format for a long time to come whilst Imam-ul-Haq’s selection in the Test squad sparked a nepotism controversy. It was important for these two players to score some runs, especially after failing to do anything significant in the first innings.
Both players initially saw the new ball danger away before getting themselves in. They slowly stole the momentum from the bowlers and started piling on the agony on the bowlers. Imam-ul-Haq managed to strike a few boundaries later, which helped their side improve the scoring rate. The pressure was back on Ireland as the scorecard went past 100.
Both these players completed well-compiled half-centuries and added 126 runs for the 4th wicket. A run-out sent Babar Azam back completely out of the blue and skipper Sarfraz Ahmed too didn’t stay for a long period in the middle. But all that was too little too late as the visitors were just a whisker away from a victory.
Imam-ul-Haq scored the winning run for Pakistan and helped his side registered a five-wicket win. Kevin O’Brien was awarded the player of the match award for his mind-boggling knock in the second innings. Players from both teams clicked a group photo and there smiles on everyone’s faces, which signifies a fact that cricket was the true winner of the game.
Pakistan 1st innings: 310/9 declared in 96 overs
Ireland 1st innings: 130 all out in 47.2 overs
Ireland 2nd innings: 339 all out in 129.3 overs (Kevin O Brien 118, Stuart Thompson 53; Mohammad Abbas 5/66, Mohammad Amir 3/63)
Pakistan 2nd innings: 160/5 in 45 overs (Imam-ul-Haq 74*, Babar Azam 59; Tim Murtagh 2/55)