Ireland fought to restore some pride in their inaugural Test after being forced to follow on, 180 runs behind Pakistan’s 310-9 declared.
Ed Joyce (39) and Will Porterfield (23) put on 64, which is more than Ireland accumulated for the loss of seven wickets in their first innings. It would be churlish to point out that both were dropped in the first five overs.
But they go into day four 116 runs behind and will need something special, or rain, to save their celebrated Test.
Pakistan, 268-6 overnight batted on for another 20 overs, in which time Faheem Ashraf, on debut, moved on from 61 to 83, when he was caught behind off Stuart Thompson. Shadab Khan, who had been on 52 when play ended early on day two, added just three to his total when he fell lbw to Tim Murtagh.
The veteran seamer, 36, added the wicket of Mohammed Amir (13) to his CV before Sarfraz Ahmed called his men in at 310-9, thus depriving him of a richly deserved five-for. Murtagh, who goes by the nickname Dial M (Dial M for Murtagh … geddit?), conceded just 45 runs from his 25 overs – an economy rate of 1.80.
Then the carnage began.
Mohammed Abbas struck in his first over, the second of the innings when he had Joyce – at 39 and 232 days the oldest Test debutant since Somachandra de Silva for Sri Lanka in 1982 (39 and 251 days) – lbw on a tight call. He snapped up Andy Balbirnie (0) in his next over, and lunch was taken after the first ball of the seventh over, when Mohammed Amir bowled Porterfield. Ireland were in disarray at 5-3.
It got no better after the break either. Ireland were 61-5 when Shadab Khan’s leg-spin took two in the 23rd over, and Amir finally broke the resistance of Kevin O’Brien, who had batted 68 balls for 40. He had shared partnerships of 29 with Paul Stirling (17) and 25 with Thompson (3).
At least the tail hung in long enough to avoid setting a record for the lowest total by a men’s team on debut, held by South Africa (84 vs England in 1889). It was bravely marshalled by Gary Wilson, who batted through the pain of an injured elbow to score an unbeaten 33.
At 130 all out, after 47 overs, Ahmed had no hesitation in enforcing the follow-on, which had been set at 150 after the first day’s play had been washed out.