Tuesday 22 May 2018

Ireland made to wait for Test bow as rains washes out first day against Pakistan

Umpires Nigel Llong, right, and Richard Illingworth during a pitch inspection on day one of the International Cricket Test match between Ireland and Pakistan at Malahide, in Co. Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Umpires Nigel Llong, right, and Richard Illingworth during a pitch inspection on day one of the International Cricket Test match between Ireland and Pakistan at Malahide, in Co. Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Liam Blackburn

Ireland's long-awaited Test match debut was delayed by the elements on Friday, with the first day of their historic contest against Pakistan washed out.

Heavy rain overnight on Thursday in Malahide prevented the nation's inaugural five-day match beginning on time and the strong wind and steady drizzle continued throughout Friday.

When umpires Richard Illingworth and Nigel Llong surveyed the scene at 3pm, a heavy downpour just before had left puddles on the outfield and it was soon confirmed no play would be possible.

Ireland will become the 11th nation to play a Test, 25 years after the International Cricket Council awarded them associate status and 11 months after they were granted full membership.

Cricket Ireland had already sold 5,100 tickets out of a possible 6,300 for the first day at Malahide Cricket Club, and all of those supporters will now receive a full refund.

It means that the governing body stand to lose 75,000 euros from Friday's washout, with chief executive Warren Deutrom having previously claimed the total cost of staging this inaugural Test would be "around 1million euros".

Shortly after the umpires made the call, the rain ceased and the skies cleared, and Duetrom is hopeful that Saturday will bring better weather given 4,000 fans have already purchased tickets.

"There was a huge sense of excitement and anticipation about today, and a massive sense of pride," he said.

"As we were getting to half two, three and the rain was hammering down, even if suddenly it had cleared and the guys said, 'Let's get out there for a number of overs at five o'clock', it probably would have been an inappropriate, underwhelming way to have started our bow in Test cricket.

"If we can get some walk up with good weather (on Saturday), hopefully it will be a more appropriate environment to start our first ball in Test cricket. Of course it's disappointing but what I don't want to do is go around with a massive long face, projecting misery because it isn't that. We're still hugely proud."

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