Ireland trouble Pakistan on Test debut

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WHAT A DIFFERENCE a day makes and, boy, has it been worth the wait as Ireland make their historic first foray in Test cricket under glorious blue skies at Malahide, winning the toss and electing to field against Pakistan.

Former England one-day global Joyce, at 39 the oldest Test debutant since Australia's Bryce McGain made his bow aged 36 in 2009, cashed in with some elegant shots including a cover-driven four off Mohammad Abbas.

Pakistan opener Azhar Ali attempted to scoot through for a quick single and Imam-ul-Haq, the nephew of former global batsman Inzamam, collided with Niall O'Brien, forcing a delay while he was attended to.

Not even a spirited late-order recovery by Pakistan could dent Ireland's pride as their men's side finally made a long-awaited Test debut on Saturday (May 12).

Non-striker Imam, in scrambling to complete the run, found himself sandwiched between wicket-keeper Niall O'Brien and Tyrone Kane in a heavy collision.

There was a huge sense of anti-climax when Friday's scheduled opening day of this stand-alone match at Dublin's Malahide ground was washed out without a ball bowled.

"I don't want to go round with a massively long face projecting misery, because it isn't, we are still hugely proud, there are still four days left in the match and, who knows, in the record books it may say we took the game to the fifth day", he said.

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.

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The seventh-ranked Test side in the world fought back through Haris Sohail's 31 and Asad Shafiq's 68.

Barely had the crowd's cheers subsided when Pakistan were 13-2 off the very next ball.

The 33-year-old started excellently with the ball as Pakistan's openers were put through a testing period.

After a few near run-outs, Pakistan's third-wicket duo settled in.

Shafiq was the next to go, for a well-made 62, and it was Rankin that got him with a short ball.

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 Gary Wilson at first slip no chance of taking the ball.

At the other end, Faheem started the slower of the two but quickly changed gears as he too brought up a half-century with the partnership going beyond the 100-run mark.