IRE vs PAK, Day 4 Review: Kevin O’Brien’s historic ton puts Ireland in a decent position
Ireland currently hold a 139-run lead heading into the final day of the Test.
Updated - May 15, 2018 12:00 am
In a bid to glorify their otherwise mediocre history, Ireland have displayed impeccable character in their ongoing inaugural Test match. Kevin O’Brien’s century, which happens to be the first ever by an Irish man in Test cricket, kept Pakistan on the backfoot. Having said that, it will take a monumental mess up for Pakistan to lose this match.
Ireland found it really difficult to handle the Pakistani bowling unit in the first innings, but they displayed some great character in the second. After being enforced to follow-on, the Irish managed to finish Day 3 without losing any wickets. But the promise they showed the other day didn’t last long on Monday as an early wicket put them on the backfoot.
Faheem Ashraf’s sharp work at mid-on helped him snatch a runout. Ed Joyce, who attempted a risky single, ended up taking a long walk back to the pavilion. Adding to the despair was another wicket for the Irish. Andy Balbernie registered two ducks in two innings, therefore registering a pair in his first ever Test match.
Niall O’Brien and skipper William Porterfield hung in the middle and fought hard for a few overs. Mohammad Amir was literally toying with the batsmen with his inimitable skill and his bowling would’ve made any fast bowler proud. Thanks to his brilliance, both these players’ resistance lasted only for 13 overs.
After Niall’s stumps went for a walk in the park on an Amir delivery, Porterfield edged the ball to his opposite number Sarfraz Ahmed behind the stumps. Kevin was the only batter from their side who looked compact on the crease. He tried to save his wicket and played some cautious cricket.
Kevin and Thompson frustrate the visitors
Kevin firstly added a 32 run stand with Paul Stirling before the latter fell prey to Mohammad Abbas. Stirling started off his innings well, but some late swing deceived him and sent him back. Gary Wilson, who had a poor outing on the field, looked in decent Nick as well. But just like the other batters, he failed to capitalise.
Both Wilson and Kevin added 30 runs for the third wicket. Who else, but Mohammad Amir killed the little glimmering Irish hopes by dismissing Wilson. This was Amir’s 100th wicket in Test cricket, a milestone he should’ve reached nearly half a decade ago. But the fast bowling sensation ensured he got there in style.
But an outstanding partnership between Kevin O’Brien and fast bowler Stuart Thompson took Pakistan by surprise. Kevin completed a fifty and was batting with a cool head whilst Thompson provided great support from the other end. Their partnership of 114 runs for the 7th wicket helped Ireland take a lead. It certainly caught the visitors off guard.
Thompson completed a well-compiled half century just before getting dismissed. Nevertheless, the younger of the O’Brien brothers completed a majestic century and the elation on the faces of his teammates and fans was inexplicable. He managed to earn his side a 139-run lead going into the final day and it’ll be interesting to see if they can stop Pakistan from winning this game.
Pakistan 1st innings: 310/9 declared in 96 overs
Ireland 1st innings: 130 all out in 47.2 overs
Ireland 2nd innings: 319/7 in 122 overs (Kevin O Brien 118*, Stuart Thompson 53; Mohammad Amir 3/57)