Sarfaraz proud of Imam, Babar as Pakistan defeat Ireland

Sarfaraz proud of Imam, Babar as Pakistan defeat Ireland

Ireland's debut in Test cricket ended in a five-wicket defeat as Pakistan debutant Imam-ul-Haq hit an unbeaten 74 at Malahide on Tuesday.

But Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam shared a 126-run fourth wicket stand as Pakistan battled to their winning target of 160.

O'Brien, who became Ireland's first-ever test centurion on Monday, was out to the first ball he faced, but Tim Murtagh and Boyd Rankin ploughed into Pakistan's batting lineup early on to add a touch of drama to the proceedings.

Imam has already dealt with the pressure of expectation - his uncle, Inzamam-ul-Haq, is one of Pakistan's greatest batsmen, as well as the chief selector - and he played an innings of calm authority to record his maiden half-century, characterised by composure and sound shot selection.

O'Brien, who had been pivotal to Ireland's fightback on Monday, fell to his first ball of the day chasing a wider delivery and nicking to slip.

Add in the fact that on only three occasions previously has a team that was forced to follow on - as Ireland were after being bowled out for 130 in the first innings - gone on to win a Test match, one in each of the last three centuries.

Pakistan eventually closed out the game, securing 160-5 to take the inaugural test match, with Imam finishing 72 not out to cap off a fine debut display for him.

"To get up to close to 350 showed what we've got in the changing room and the passion that we have for playing our cricket".

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The hosts were beaten by Pakistan in Malahide today.

However, the Dubliner put together a highly composed 118-not-out and coupled with Stuart Thompson's 53, Ireland are now in control.

World Cup victories against Pakistan, West Indies and England had helped to press Ireland's case for Test status and Porterfield is hopeful that this latest performance can inspire more success in the future.

Set a target of 160 to win in the final innings, Pakistan overcame early jitters to claim a comfortable victory in the end.

Pakistan bowling coach Azhar Mahmood suggested after stumps on Sunday that Amir's lengthy time away from the game allied to the fact he had been involved in all three global formats-Tests, one-dayers and Twenty20s-since coming back had taken a toll on the swing bowler.

Watch Pakistan's Test series in England live on Sky Sports Cricket, starting with the opener at Lord's from May 24.

"I think it's very good for Pakistan as a team to chase this on the fifth day". There were a hell of a lot of good things to come out of this game, we played a lot of good cricket.

Following-on, Ireland started the fourth day on 64 without loss. That's always been known to be there but Test cricket is Test cricket for a reason, it's there in the name, you did get tested and we were after the first innings. It was our first Test match and it was tough on the first day, we struggled a bit with the emotions.

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