July 31, 2000

Ireland in command on Test debut

The World Order in women's cricket is significantly different to that of the men's game. It is with that in mind that we report that Pakistan are on the brink of a crushing defeat by Ireland in their one-off women's Test at College Park, Dublin.

Ireland, making their first appearance on the Test arena in the women's game, look set to wrap up their four-day match against Pakistan, who are playing their second-ever women's Test, in about a day and a half.

Pakistan, batting first after winning the toss, were all out for 53 yesterday. Ireland, in reply, made 193 for 3 before declaring. Pakistan ended the first day on 8 for 1, still needing another 132 runs to make Ireland bat again.

Pakistan struggled against the Irish bowling, taking 47.4 overs to extract their 53 first innings runs. The wickets were shared for Ireland by Catherine O'Neill (4/26), Barbara McDonald (3/9) and Ciara Metcalfe (3/15).

Ireland's innings, which was in fact four balls shorter than Pakistan's, was dominated by Caitriona Beggs (68*) and Karen Young (58).

For Ireland, the visit by the Pakistan team is their major workout before the 2000 CricInfo Women's World Cup in New Zealand at the end of this year. Ireland have appeared regularly at World Cups since 1988. Pakistan, with a shorter history of women's cricket at international level, appeared in the 1997 World Cup - a rare instance of a Pakistani sporting team playing on Indian soil - but failed to qualify for this year's event when the number of participating teams was cut back from eleven to eight.

Pakistan's development in the women's game has been hampered by factionalisation at the administrative level, and currently there are two organisations claiming to be the official governing body in Pakistan. It is the Pakistan Women's Cricket Control Association, who are affiliated with the IWCC, who are conducting the tour to Ireland.

Pakistan have played just one women's Test to date, away to Sri Lanka in 1998. That match also being Sri Lanka's first (and only thus far) women's Test, the home side defeating Pakistan by 309 runs.

The current match in Dublin, which resumes today at 11am local time, is the first women's Test played anywhere in the world since England met India in July 1999.