Shadab and Faheem revive Pakistan in Ireland’s inaugural Test

Pakistan’s Faheem Ashraf celebrates with Pakistan’s Shadab Khan, left, after reaching his half century during play on day two of Ireland’s inaugural test match against Pakistan at Malahide cricket club, in Dublin on May 12, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 13 May 2018

Shadab and Faheem revive Pakistan in Ireland’s inaugural Test

  • Ireland became the 11th nation to play men’s Test cricket
  • Ireland won the toss and opted to field first

DUBLIN: Shadab Khan and debutant Faheem Ashraf both scored maiden Test fifties as Pakistan fought back in Ireland’s inaugural Test match in Dublin on Saturday.
Pakistan were 268 for six when bad light and then rain brought the second day at Malahide to a premature close.
Shadab, in just his second Test, was 52 not out and left-hander Faheem 61 not out, with their unbroken seventh-wicket stand so far worth 109 runs after they had come together at 159 for six.
Pakistan, sent into bat by Ireland captain William Porterfield, lost two wickets in successive balls to be 13 for two, but concerns that Ireland would pay for doing without a specialist spinner were eventually proved to be well-founded.
Middlesex paceman Tim Murtagh led Ireland’s attack with two wickets for 33 runs from 17 overs, with Boyd Rankin taking two for 58 in 17 overs.
Ireland, from the moment of the toss, officially became the 11th nation to play men’s Test cricket.
There was drama at an initially sun-drenched Malahide right from Saturday’s first ball of this stand-alone match.
Azhar Ali dug out a Murtagh delivery and called for a quick legside single.
Non-striker Imam-ul-Haq, like Faheem making his Test debut, found himself sandwiched between wicket-keeper Niall O’Brien and Kane in a heavy collision as he scrambled to complete the run.
The 22-year-old was left flat on the ground and needed several minutes’ treatment on the field, but he recovered to face the second ball of the match, with Imam playing and missing.
Imam, the nephew of Pakistan selection chief and former Test batsman Inzamam-ul-Haq, scored a hundred on his one-day international debut against Sri Lanka last year.
The left-hander, who came into this match following fifties in Pakistan’s two warm-up fixtures, against Kent and Northamptonshire, square-drove Murtagh for a stylish four.
But it did not take long for Ireland to make a stunning double strike on a pitch offering some sideways movement.
Rankin, the 15th man ever, and the first since Kepler Wessels (Australia and South Africa) 25 years ago, to play Test cricket for two nations after making a lone appearance for England in 2014, had an uncertain Azhar (four) edging to Porterfield at second slip.
That left Pakistan 13 for one off the last ball of the eighth over.
Barely had the crowd’s cheers subsided, then Pakistan were 13 for two off the very next ball, with Imam lbw for seven to a Murtagh delivery that came back into him.
After a few near run-outs, Pakistan’s third-wicket duo settled in.
Shafiq square-cut Kane for four, with left-hander Haris Sohail glancing Stuart Thompson for a legside boundary.
Pakistan, 67 for two at lunch, lost their third wicket soon afterwards when Haris was caught in the gully by Porterfield off Thompson.
Babar Azam (14), pushing hard at a Murtagh delivery that left him off the pitch, was well-held by Paul Stirling at second slip.
Shafiq went on to complete a 107-ball fifty when he pulled Rankin for a single.
But with the towering Rankin, bowling from around the wicket, a similar shot proved Shafiq’s undoing when he found Andrew Balbirnie at square leg.
And when Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed (20) was caught by Stirling in the slips off Thompson, the tourists were 159 for six.
But Shadab and Faheem turned the tide in style.
Faheem, however, did have a break when, on 36, he edged Rankin only for a diving Niall O’Brien to miss the catch and give the obscured Gary Wilson at first slip no chance of taking the ball.
Duly reprieved, he went to fifty in just 52 balls, including seven fours, with Shadab following him to the landmark in 89 balls.
When Stirling did come on, a well-set Faheem launched the part-time spinner over long-on for six.
Bad light saw the players leave the field at 5:27pm local time (1627 GMT) and 20 minutes later, after a thunderclap and a heavy downpour, play was abandoned for the day.

FASTFACTS

Debutant Imam-ul-Haq is the nephew of Pakistan selection chief and former Test batsman Inzamam-ul-Haq.


New Zealand maintains Pakistan cricket training ban as coronavirus cases rise

Updated 04 December 2020

New Zealand maintains Pakistan cricket training ban as coronavirus cases rise

  • Ten people among the 53-member tour party have tested positive for COVID-19 while completing two weeks of isolation in Christchurch
  • Team members were confined to their rooms when the first cases emerged last week but had hoped to resume training before finishing their stint in isolation

Wellington: New Zealand health officials refused to lift a ban on Pakistan’s coronavirus-hit cricket team training during quarantine on Friday after the touring party’s number of infections climbed to 10.
The team were confined to their rooms when the first cases emerged last week but had hoped to resume training before finishing their stint in isolation on Tuesday.
However, health chiefs said the risk of further infections was too great. Ten people among the 53-member tour party have tested positive for COVID-19 while completing two weeks of isolation in Christchurch.
“I have very carefully considered this situation,” director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield said in a statement.
“At this time, I continue to have ongoing concerns about the risk of cross-infection within the squad.”
The decision means that Pakistan’s cricketers will have only 10 days to prepare for their first tour match, a Twenty20 international in Auckland on December 18, and probably less when travel is factored in.
Bloomfield said the decision was prompted by the number of active cases detected among the squad.
“Public health considerations will continue to be foremost in our response to COVID-19, whether this involves individuals or teams,” he said.
“We appreciate the challenges that this decision will have for the touring team.”
Bloomfield issued the team with a “final warning” last week for flouting social distancing protocols at their hotel and no further breaches have been reported since.
The tourists arrived in New Zealand on November 24 and are scheduled to play three T20s and two Tests.
New Zealand has largely eradicated community transmission of coronavirus, recording just 1,713 cases and 25 deaths in a population of five million.