Sports

Masterclass: Kevin O'Brien Becomes First Irishman To Score A Test Century

Masterclass: Kevin O'Brien Becomes First Irishman To Score A Test Century

With O'Brien one shy, Pakistan brought on Mohammad Amir, who had already accounted for Irish captain William Porterfield, O'Brien's brother Niall and Gary Wilson to reach 100 Test wickets.

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.

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 centurion looked to be visibly tiring at the tail end of the day and almost chopped Abbas on shortly after edging Amir wide of the only slip and probably should have been out leg before in the final over of the day but he and Tyrone Kane (8*) would end the day still out there on 319 for 7 having added an unbroken stand of 48 for the seventh wicket to take Ireland to a lead of 139.

At that stage, Amir had taken two wickets for no runs in six balls. However, the away side made a strong comeback with their lower order and went on to declare at 310/9 just before lunch on Day 3 as debutant Faheem Ashraf scored a memorable 83.

Ireland it should be remembered started the day still 116 runs behind Pakistan's first innings score, defeat by an innings was still very much on the cards - and looked increasingly likely when the well set Ed Joyce managed to needlessly run himself out.

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It was even worse for Ireland four balls later when Andrew Balbirnie was leg before wicket to Mohammad Abbas for the second time in the match without scoring - the 44th player to get a pair on his Test match debut.

It wasn't for want of trying but insane running continued to be a feature of the first hour of the day with Niall fortunate that a throw missed the stumps as he dived in to avoid being the second player to get a pair. Overall they lead Pakistan by 139 runs.

But after the break, Thompson upped the tempo and while O'Brien was content to nudge the singles, Thompson took 11 off an over from left-armer Rahat Ali and followed up with two more off Amir.

O'Brien led Ireland's recovery in their inaugural Test with circumspect batting, with his 67 coming from 120 balls and including seven fours at tea.

Thompson, so long the talented under-achiever, showed why the selectors have stuck with him as he went to a half-century with his sixth boundary, a fierce pull through mid-wicket, but fell for 53 when he was beaten on the back foot and bowled by a sharp leg-spinner.


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