Ireland started the third day of their inaugural Test with Pakistan by finally breaking up the seventh-wicket partnership of Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf when they had made 117 together.
The home side took the new ball that was available to them in yesterday morning’s fifth over and Tim Murtagh struck with just the second delivery with the new cherry, removing Shadab lbw for 55 to leave Pakistan 276 for seven.
It was a fuller ball that did for Shadab, though he may have earned a reprieve had DRS been available as replays showed Murtagh’s delivery might have just missed leg stump.
Less than an hour and a half into the second day’s play, Pakistan declared on 310 for nine to ensure their bowlers had a crack at Ireland’s top order prior to lunch.
Faheem, who had survived dropped chances when on 24 and 36 on Saturday, had a hat-trick of reprieves when substitute fielder Andrew McBrine failed to hang on at third slip, yet he would eventually fall 17 shy of a maiden ton.
Stuart Thompson’s fine delivery reared up and caught the shoulder of Faheem’s bat before going through to wicketkeeper Niall O’Brien, who claimed another catch to dismiss Mohammad Amir in the next over and give Murtagh his fourth wicket.
Any hopes he had of getting a five-for were dashed by Pakistan’s declaration, though, leaving Murtagh as the pick of the Irish bowlers with four for 45.
The declaration proved to be a shrewd decision from the visitors as they picked up three quick wickets prior to lunch and had Ireland reeling at five for three.
Mohammad Abbas accounted for Ed Joyce and Andrew Balbirnie, both to lbw decisions, and opener William Porterfield then saw his off stump rooted out having been beaten by Mohammad Amir’s pace.
Ireland’s miserable maiden innings with the bat continued and they were facing a significant task just to avoid the follow-on when 61 for seven, still trailing Pakistan’s first-innings total by 249.
Both Niall O’Brien and Todd Kane were dismissed without scoring, while Paul Stirling and Thompson only made respective minor contributions of 17 and three in-between.
The target the Irish need to avoid the follow-on possibly being enforced is 161.
Ireland did manage to pass the lowest ever score posted by a team in their first Test innings as they went beyond South Africa’s 84 thanks to Gary Wilson’s fortuitous edge for four.
Wilson, who did not field in the morning due to an injury picked up in the warm-up, and Boyd Rankin had led Ireland to 95 for eight by tea, a deficit of 215, with another 66 runs still needed to avoid the follow-on.
In spite of some plucky lower-order resistance from Wilson, who made an unbeaten 33 in spite of being in clear pain, Pakistan wrapped up the tail to dismiss Ireland for 130 and claim a commanding first-innings lead of 180.
With the follow-on available due to the first day being washed out, Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed enforced it and made the Irish bat again.
Joyce and Porterfield were both dropped off Amir’s bowling early in the second innings, but there was to be no repeat of the first-innings collapse at the top of the order.
The two openers guided Ireland to 64 without loss by stumps, a deficit of 116, and offered some hope that they could avoid a humiliating defeat during the landmark occasion in Dublin.