Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Kevin O'Brien ton keeps Ireland alive in inaugural test, against Pakistan

Kevin O'Brien ton keeps Ireland alive in inaugural test, against Pakistan

Kevin O'Brien led a spirited Ireland fightback after they found themselves in real trouble following on against Pakistan at Malahide.

Kevin O'Brien, the younger brother, scored the fastest century in World Cup history in Ireland's incredible three-wicket victory over England in Bangalore four years later.

He finished the day undefeated on 118, having spent more than five and a half hours at the crease, about as different an innings as possible to the one in Bangalore all those years ago but just as momentously unbelievable.

The 34-year-old's milestone came from 186 balls as Ireland - who began day four on 64-0, still 116 runs from making Pakistan bat again, and then slipped to 157-6 - closed on 319-7 for a lead of 139, with O'Brien 118 not out.

That of course is getting too far ahead of things, for the moment we should just savour O'Brien's remarkable knock that has upset the expected order of things just as greatly as his blunderbuss 113 against England did in the 2011 World Cup. That took him to 48 and he became Ireland's first male test half-centurion with a single.

The O'Brien family was well represented for the historic occasion, with O'Brien joking that he had about "85 whatsapps" to trawl through later that evening. "If we can get up 180-odd that gives us a chance of hopefully a draw, and if we can get a few to stay low, we've a great chance to put them under pressure".

The prospect of defeat loomed ever larger after Amir dismissed any doubts over his ability to produce pace by sending Niall O'Brien's (18) off and middle stumps careering out of the ground, before then claiming the scalp of captain William Porterfield (32).

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.

Both he and Tyrone Kane enjoyed the luck of the Irish at the end, with the former almost playing on to Abbas in the final over, but the pair carried their bats to conclude a remarkable day for the home team.

After a spell of two wickets for 10 runs in seven overs, including three maidens, Amir left the field some 25 minutes before the scheduled lunch break.

When Thompson did eventually fall, less cool heads than O'Brien might have anxious about their tilt at three figures, as it was he placed full faith in Tyrone Kane, the pair picking up exactly where Ireland had left off.

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