IRE vs PAK, one-off Test, Day 2 Review: Pakistan make a strong comeback after jittery start
Shadab and Faheem's 104-run unbeaten stand puts them in contention for a score in excess of 300 or 350 and it'll be interesting to see how the hosts reciprocate on the third day.
Updated - May 12, 2018 11:20 pm
Although this was Ireland’s biggest day in their cricketing history, many expected Pakistan to run away with the contest given their experience at this level. But a spirited performance from the European side saw them restrict the opponents to a moderate total on day 2. Once again, the full quota of overs was not possible as bad light put an end to the day in an abrupt way.
After the entire day 1 one got washed out, the Pakistani batters came out with an intent to put up a huge total. But the discipline shown by the Irish bowlers with the Duke ball was thoroughly brilliant and both the openers walked back very quickly. Experienced campaigners Boyd Rankin and Tim Murtagh got rid of their opening batters to give their team a dream start in Test cricket.
An important partnership for the 3rd wicket between Haris Sohail and Asad Shafiq helped the visitors curtail humiliation. They completely stole the momentum away from the bowlers and started scoring runs at a decent rate. Although the duo didn’t run away with the game, they set a good platform for the next batters to come.
Stuart Thompson got the much-needed breakthrough for Ireland with the wicket of Haris Sohail. Young Babar Azam got off to a flying start but failed to cash in on the wonderful opportunity. He was dismissed for just 14 runs after showing some promise in the little time he spent at the crease.
Shadab and Faheem save the day for the visitors
Asad Shafiq was next to depart, who fell to prey Boyd Rankin just after getting to his half century. Skipper Sarfraz Ahmed too didn’t stick around for long, which saw the Irish bowlers restrict Pakistan for 159/6 and were well on course to bowl them out for a score under 200. But an unbelievable partnership from an expected source sabotaged the hosts’ ambitions.
It seemed as if Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf were playing on a whole different pitch. They made batting look much easier than their top order players, who sweated a lot to earn every run. Ashraf’s counter-attacking cricket put the Irish bowlers on the backfoot. Shadab provided him stable support at the other end by picking singles and rotating the strike.
The hosts also had some favour to offer these batters spilling down a couple of decent chances. Gary Wilson dropped a sitter fielding at slips to Faheem Ashraf a life whilst some disastrous confusion between Niall O’Brien and Wilson saw Faheem get away after offering another catch towards the end of the day’s play.
Although the bowlers managed to create these wonderful chances, full marks to the attitude of the Pakistani batters under pressure. Ashraf, on his debut, got to a well-compiled half-century and got a rousing reception from his teammates. Shadab Khan too got a fifty and silently kept performing his duty at the other end.
The day came to end when the batters started complaining about the bad light. The rain gods joined the party as well and there was no way play was going to move forward on Saturday. Shadab and Faheem’s 104-run unbeaten stand puts them in contention for a score in excess of 300 or 350 and it’ll be interesting to see how the hosts reciprocate on the third day.
Pakistan 1st innings: 268/7 in 76 overs (Asad Shafiq 62, Faheem Ashraf 628, Shadab Khan 52*; Boyd Rankin 2/58, Stuart Thompson 2/51, Tim Murtagh 2/33)