Imam takes Pakistan over the line after Irish scare
16 May, 2018, 13:42 | Author: Christina Harvey
Hours earlier on day four, the Irish faced the prospect of an innings defeat but they lost only three wickets in the final two sessions to reach stumps on 7-319 in their second innings after following on.
Kevin O'Brien hit an unbeaten 118 to become Ireland's maiden Test centurion, relishing his test Test debut innings and deservedly winning player of the match.
For all that early excitement though, Pakistan gradually took the game away from Ireland, thanks in no small part to 22-year-old Imam, who batted with patience and a sound technique to end on a well-made 74 not out.
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.
Abbas swiftly removed Boyd Rankin (6) and Tyrone Kane (14) to return second-innings figures of 5-66.
Imam and Barbar however knuckled down and dented Ireland's opening spell as the visitors went to lunch on 52/3.
Joined in the middle by number five batsman, Babar Azam, Imam began to settle into his innings and before long, secured his half-century, displaying a fine array of shots to make light work of the Irish bowling. Now Pakistan were in trouble on a green seamer against green opponents (in Test terms), with their two most-experienced batsmen back in the dressing room. A man who knows a thing or two about Test match history, veteran Pakistan journalist Qamar Ahmed - watching his 435th Test match in the last 44 years - described the match as "one of the most fantastic and absorbing" he has witnessed considering Ireland's fightback.
Imamul saw the tourists to victory with a total of 160 for five. In addition, Pakistan enforced follow-on after 16 years.
Kevin O'Brien is handed the man of the match award by Ross McCollum and Rameez Raja.
"I think it was a fantastic team effort, yesterday belonged to Kevin and very well supported by Tommo and TK". We are a very young side, we had two debutant players, but we were very confident whatever the target will come, we will chase it down.
Ireland can be extremely proud and their display gave a basis to compete on equal terms and they certainly do not look like the new boys of Test cricket.
And only three teams - one for every century in which Test cricket has been played - have won after following-on, with South Africa in 1894, England in 1981 and India at Kolkata in 2001, all beating Australia having been sent back into bat. 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.
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