Ireland misses records, but wins hearts

Australia is the only nation which won its first Test against England in 1877; Zimbabwe drew against India in 1992.

Despite following on, Ireland made Pakistan work hard for the win at the Malahide Oval in Dublin on Tuesday.   -  Getty Images

Among the Test playing nations, only Australia won its first-ever Test match — against England in Melbourne in 1877. Ireland, following on in the second innings in its debut Test against Pakistan at the Malahide Oval in Dublin, had a chance to enter the record books. Had the Irishmen won the fixture, they would have been the second team in history to clinch a win on debut.

Ireland also had a chance to become the third team, after England and India, to win a Test after following on.

None of that happened, and Ireland lost by five wickets. But the Irishmen can still be proud of their performance. Pakistan had to earn a win.

  Setting a target of 160 in the fourth innings, the Irish bowlers almost pushed the visitor down the barrel. At one stage, Pakistan was reeling at 14/3 before Babar Azam (59) and Imam-ul-Haq (74 not out) started the rescue act.

Tim Murtagh, who caused the early breakthroughs, stood out with his pace and length.

Earlier, Kevin O’Brien (118), Ed Joyce (43) and Stuart Thompson (53) helped Ireland reach 339, after a disastrous first innings total of 130.

Ireland led by 159 runs, and Pakistan — which scored 310/9 in its first innings — was patient with the chase.