[caption id="attachment_712625" align="alignnone" width="628"]<img class="size-full wp-image-712625" alt="Imam-ul-Haq impressed in his Test debut AFP" src="https://www.cricketcountry.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/imam1.jpg" width="628" height="355" /> Imam-ul-Haq impressed in his Test debut AFP[/caption] <p></p> <p></p><strong>Dublin: </strong><a href="https://www.cricketcountry.com/teams/pakistan/">Pakistan </a> captain <a href="www.cricketcountry.com/players/Sarfraz-Ahmed-2">Sarfraz Ahmed</a> praised the character of young batsmen Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam after they ensured his decision to enforce the follow-on in <a href="https://www.cricketcountry.com/teams/ireland">Ireland's </a> inaugural Test did not backfire. Only three times in the 141-year history of Test cricket have a side won after following-on but when Pakistan were 14 for three, chasing a modest 160 to win on yesterday's final day of this stand-alone match, it seemed Ireland might mark their entry into the format with a stunning success. <p></p> <p></p>But 22-year-old left-handed opener Imam, himself making a Test debut, responded to the pressure of the situation with a composed 74 not out -- his third fifty of the tour following half-centuries in warm-up matches against Kent and Northamptonshire. <p></p> <p></p>Together with the 23-year-old Babar, who made 59 after being dropped on nine shortly after lunch, he shared a stand of 126 that took Pakistan to the brink of an eventual five-wicket win over a competitive Ireland side. <p></p> <p></p>The way Imam in particular coped under grey skies against some lively pace bowling was an especially heartening sign for Pakistan ahead of their upcoming two-Test series in England, where conditions are likely to be similar to those they encountered at Dublin's Malahide. <p></p> <p></p>It also meant Pakistan had not failed in a run chase again. <p></p> <p></p>Their previous Test, against Sri Lanka in the UAE in October, saw them beaten after a target of 136 proved beyond them as left-arm spinner Rangana Herath took six wickets for 43 runs. <p></p> <p></p>"Definitely we were worried when we were down 14 for three," Sarfraz told reporters. <p></p> <p></p>"But it's really good that these two young players in our team, Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam, the way they played, they showed their character, they showed their confidence. I think the way they played gives great confidence to the team and will help them in the next matches as well," the wicket-keeper added. <p></p> <p></p>Pakistan were reeling after losing three wickets inside five overs and their skipper feared another morale-sapping loss was at hand. <p></p> <p></p>"You know previously it's not happened like this," admitted Sarfraz. <p></p> <p></p>"In the last Test match when we were chasing 136 and we were all out for about 120. Yeah we were thinking when we called for the follow-on if we were batting in the fourth innings it would be very difficult," he added. <p></p> <p></p>Pakistan, understandably enough, have been struggling to replace the likes of retired veteran batsmen Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan. <p></p> <p></p>But Imam, whose selection for the tour led to allegations of nepotism given he is the nephew of Pakistan selection chief and former Test batsman Inzamam-ul-Haq, didn't just hold his nerve but counter-attacked with a maturity belying his lack of experience." <p></p> <p></p>And with Faheem Ashraf, Pakistan's other debutant, making 83 in the first innings to take the tourists to beyond 300, Sarfraz was in buoyant mood. <p></p> <p></p>"We are very confident. We are a very young side, we had two debutant players, but we were very confident whatever the target will come, we will chase it down. <p></p> <p></p>"At 14 for three there was a little bit of concern but the way Imam and Babar Azam were as a collective, it was very important the way these two young players are batting. <p></p> <p></p>"I think it's very good for Pakistan as a team to chase this on the fifth day."