Ireland v Pakistan: Raining on Ireland's Test parade

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Cricket Ireland 'looking at the bright side' - Warren Deutrom
Ireland v Pakistan, Test
Venue: Malahide CC, County Dublin Dates: 11-15 May Time: 11:00 BST
Coverage: Updates on BBC Radio Ulster and reports on the BBC Sport website

Cricket's arch enemy claimed another victim on a day when it surely could have shown a little clemency.

Instead, Ireland's long-suffering supporters must wait another 24 hours.

Rain makes for this lush and fertile land, but it was the ultimate party-pooper for the biggest game in Irish cricketing history.

A familiar foe in this part of the world - rain fronts brewing up and queuing up over the Atlantic before rolling relentlessly eastward.

Everything was in place after Ireland's long but successful crusade to bring five-day cricket to the island.

The village ground at Malahide, a well-heeled seaside suburb north of Dublin, was transformed into a Test venue with temporary stands rising high alongside the usual assortment of marquees and stalls.

A few tall trees on the boundary edge swayed like a drunken sailor as a gusting, chill wind also came to the party to make this, even for Ireland, a particularly grim day.

The umpires shuffled out for inspections and scampered back in for cover but the big mechanised rollers chugged on in the vain hope of the thick, dark clouds being punctured by a bit of blue.

The Ireland players were wrapped up for winter and not mid-May as they loosened up for a few minutes on the outfield, kicking a football about aimlessly before the scheduled start of play.

Pakistan wisely favoured the shelter of the dressing room, perhaps longing for the soothing sun of Karachi or Lahore.

Umpires Nigel Llong and Richard Illingworth held several pitch inspections over the course of the day
Umpires Nigel Llong and Richard Illingworth held several pitch inspections over the course of the day

Over 5,000 tickets were sold for the opening day and a few dozen optimists took their place on the banks of green seats before finally realising the battle was lost.

It fell slow and steady until an early afternoon downpour, accompanied by hailstones popping up and down on the pristine ground, sealed the fate of day one.

But this is Test cricket, it is played over five days and there is an improved forecast for the rest of the game.

And sure, five straight days without rain in Ireland is close to impossible so it's more a shrug of the shoulders than screaming at the sky.

Abandonments and rain delays are part of the deal for Irish cricket fans and these stoic folk will return on Saturday morning despite knowing there could be another dose of disappointment.

It is just the sense of anti-climax, of 11 May being set in stone as the day to celebrate Ireland becoming the 11th team to play Test cricket.

I looked through the water-dappled media centre window to view a little army of groundstaff at work instead of a classic cover drive or the middle stump cartwheeling as a paceman roars with delight.

However, after all these years striving to join the elite of world cricket, I'm sure we can wait one more day to reach the cherished land.