Gary Wilson praised Ireland’s openers for displaying “big balls” after following on against Pakistan, having shown serious courage himself in making an unbeaten 33 despite a possible fracture in his elbow.
The Irish face a fight to avoid a heavy loss in their inaugural Test after the tourists ripped through their top order, eventually dismissing them inside 48 overs for 130, 180 behind Pakistan’s 310 for nine declared.
However, they had moved within 116 runs of that total with all 10 second-innings wickets still in hand at stumps on day three thanks to Ed Joyce and William Porterfield’s unbroken stand of 64.
“We’re (less than) 120 behind, we know we’re going to have to bat really well but I think the two lads showed at the end there that it’s definitely possible,” Wilson said.
“It looked like Pakistan maybe had the ball reversing slightly towards the end. If they’re trying to get the ball reversing, they obviously think there’s enough in the wicket for the batters. That’s definitely a plus point for us.
“We know again the first hour, first session tomorrow is going to be really key to try and set the game up for us.
“We’re confident, we can take a huge amount of confidence.
“Whenever you’re asked to follow on and you can go 60 for none at the close, that shows big balls, so I think we can take good confidence from that.”
Nobody showed more guts than Wilson, who was unable to field in the morning having been struck on the back of the elbow in the warm-up.
The 33-year-old returned from hospital hoping to avoid batting on Sunday, but with Ireland slumping from seven for four to 61 for six, Wilson came in down the order at nine after taking painkillers.
And he displayed some lower-order resistance in making an unbeaten 33, despite being unable to play many of his regular strokes, to ensure the Irish moved beyond the lowest score ever recorded by a team in their first Test innings.
“I went for an X-ray and there might be a little crack there. It’s unconfirmed,” Wilson added of his injury.
“It’s probably the most pain I’ve been in when batting. It was pretty sore.
“I was able to get through it, got us up to 130 which (was) probably not ideal (for) where we want to be, but I thought the two boys at the end there were unbelievable - to go back out, that showed proper guts.
“The adrenaline sort of kicked in and I didn’t want to miss a chance to bat in the Test match.
“They just drugged me up and I got out there and got on with it.
“You’ve got a bit of a responsibility to get out there.
“At one point, whenever I got back (from hospital), I thought I was literally only going to try and hold an end up.
“It was pretty pleasing to get out there and play some sort of an innings,” added Wilson.