But with Mick Jagger, a lifelong cricket fan, among the crowd - the Rolling Stones play a concert at Dublin's Croke Park on Thursday - the openers gave Ireland some satisfaction in a day dominated by Pakistan.
While Rankin took Ireland's first Test wicket, it was not his first in Test cricket.
Former England one-day worldwide Joyce, arguably Ireland´s greatest batsman and at 39 the oldest Test debutant since Australia´s Bryce McGain made his bow aged 36 in 2009, appeared to be a victim of the fact the Decision Review System was not being used in this match because Cricket Ireland had decided they could not afford the cost for a one-off game. The Malahide Test has not wanted for milestones but Ireland's batsmen must produce something significant if they are to deprive Pakistan of the thing that matters most: victory.
When Safrraz Ahmed (20) also edged to the slips giving Thompson his second wicket that left Pakistan 159/6 and in serious danger of being bowled out for a sub-par score.
The answer was emphatic, as the Mohammads Abbas and Amir removed the Ireland top three in the space of 37 balls before lunch.
The paceman took four wickets as Ireland's first innings was wrapped up inside 48 overs.
Andrew Balbirnie walks off after being dismissed by Mohammad Abbas.
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After a chat with Sixers legend Allen Iverson and taking some time to refocus, Simmons was able to find that freedom back home at the Wells Fargo Center.
But Kevin O'Brien's belligerent 40 spared them that embarrassment while Wilson, who injured his arm batting in the nets and so came in down the order, made 33 not out to help ensure South Africa's 84 against England at Port Elizabeth in 1889 remained the lowest total by a side in their maiden Test innings.
This was the first time Pakistan had enforced the follow-on in a Test in 16 years since they beat New Zealand by an innings and 324 runs at Lahore in 2002.
"When they both went in we were not in a very good position but the way they both batted they really put us in the driving seat in this Test match".
"It was pretty sore but the adrenalin kicked in and I was able to get through it, obviously got us up to 130 or whatever".
"The coach and captain asked me to face as much of the leg-spinner as I could so I thought of that whenever Murts came in, that I better try and get down the other end and halfway through I immediately regretted it when I realised I would have to dive".
Amir promptly left the field at the end of that over, seemingly in some discomfort rather than out of pique.
Day 2: Pakistan 268/6 in 76 overs. They'll have admired the way this present side bounced back against the odds on another thrilling day of Test cricket.