O'Brien hits historic first test century

16 May, 2018, 00:49 | Author: Thomas Hicks
  • 14 May 2018 Kevin O'Brien of Ireland celebrates after scoring a century during day four of the International Cricket Test match between Ireland and Pakistan at Malahide in Co. Dublin

Hopes of an unlikely home victory were raised on the final day when the tourists, chasing 160, crashed to 14 for three, but half-centuries from Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam helped Pakistan home ahead of their meeting with England at Lord's next week.

A top-notch 74 run knock of opener Imamul Haq off 121 balls and middle-order batsman Babar Azam's 59 runs innings sealed win for the Sarfaraz-led visiting side.

Kevin O'Brien scored Ireland's first Test hundred when he reached three figures against Pakistan on the fourth day of their inaugural match at this level at Malahide on Monday. Boyd Rankin and Tyrone Kane inside edged Abbas's incoming deliveries on to the stumps to hand the pacer his second Test fifer.

From there, they dragged themselves back into the match and played their way into contention going into the final day against a Test nation stalwart as Pakistan.

Overall, the display was full of positives and although it wasn't flawless over the five days, Ireland showed that they can absolutely compete in Test cricket at a high level.

Both Niall O'Brien and William Porterfield should have been run out before Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed finally turned to Amir.

However, with Ireland struggling at 157/6, Kevin O'Brien and Thompson came to the rescue as they amassed a 114-run partnership, during which Thompson brought up his half-century.

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In the post-lunch session, Ireland lost Paul Stirling (11 runs) after his short stay.

That win, coupled with another big upset by the Irish against Pakistan in Kingston, Jamaica at the previous World Cup - where O'Brien was there at the finish alongside Trent Johnston - kickstarted the push for Ireland to get Test status.

The third-wicket partnership had only got to 25 when O'Brien was bowled, playing across the line to Amir, and when Porterfield followed for the addition of only one more run, a good diving catch to his left by the keeper, Ireland were 95-4.

Pakistan now heads to England for a two-test series, starting next week at Lord's.

But this Irish team will always attempt to throw a reverse-swinging spanner into the works and sure enough, they gave the visitors a major fright.

Cricket Ireland have said that one or two Test matches a year will probably be the limit that the Ireland side will play.

Babar was dropped on nine runs in the 19th over when Balbirnie could not hold a catchable chance and the right-hander immediately made Ireland pay by thumping two of his next four deliveries through the covers for boundaries. It came soon after his overnight batting partner Tryone Kane had added a couple of runs to take their eighth wicket partnership past the fifty-run mark.

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