Ireland Can Dream of Remarkable Debut Test Win Against Pakistan

Kevin O'Brien

From the ignominy of 7/4 and having to follow on, Ireland, through the medium of O'Brien, have not just clawed back some much needed pride but unbelievably crafted a situation where they could possibly emerge as victors.

It was the 34-year-old O'Brien's first century for Ireland since he made the fastest-ever World Cup hundred by any batsman, off 50 balls, against England at Bangalore in 2011.

Kevin O'Brien scored Ireland's first Test century to bolster hopes of at least avoiding defeat in their debut in the five-day game against Pakistan. It has given the hosts a sniff of victory in their maiden Test match.

At that stage, Amir had taken two wickets for no runs in six balls.

"If I can continue on tomorrow (Tuesday) for another hour and a half, that 118 changes to 170-odd, this could top it".

"To get there, it's a great honour". Let's bask in and review Ireland's, and particularly O'Brien's, greatest day - I believe better than the World Cup win, because this was unknown territory for the Irish.

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Andy Balbirnie followed, lbw for a second time, as he became the unwanted owner of Ireland's first pair of ducks, while Niall O'Brien lost two stumps after making a chaotic 18 in which he could have run himself out for nought and gave skipper William Porterfield a mighty scare. His first 14 Tests saw Amir take 51 wickets at just a fraction over 23 runs apiece, but his 16 completed Tests since his comeback yielded 44 wickets at a more expensive average of 37.25.

For Pakistan on day four, paceman Mohammed Amir shrugged off a nagging knee problem to be the pick of the bowlers, finishing the day with figures of 3-57 as he reached 100 test wickets.

But Amir and the rest of the Pakistan attack were frustrated by the brilliance of O'Brien, who forged a pivotal partnership of 114 with Stuart Thompson (53) and an unbroken one of 48 with Tyrone Kane (8), staying unbeaten on 118 to guide Ireland to 319-7 at the close on an historic day at Malahide.

O'Brien and Thompson then began to drain the urgency from the fielding side, or maybe the visitors just fancied enjoying the local hospitality for another night, because taking the second new ball with only one or two slips in place and very little aggression all but ensured a fifth day - and what a thriller it could be.

The lead of 139 is precarious and Ireland's chances of victory hinge on keeping the Dubliner at the crease as long as possible and then following that up with an inspired spell of bowling.

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