Kevin O’Brien leads Ireland fightback with gutsy ton

Kevin O'Brien

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

Ireland began day four of the only Test against Pakistan on 64 without loss but found Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Abbas difficult to handle.

Some sharp work from Faheem Ashraf caught Ed Joyce (43) short of his ground just seven runs shy of what would have been the first Test half century for Ireland.

Mohammad Abbas then had Andy Balbirnie (0) trapped leg before without Ireland being able to add to their score of 69.

A double strike from Amir removed William Porterfield (32) on the heels of having Niall O’Brien bowled for 18, Ireland were 95 for 4 with Ireland still needing 85 runs to make Pakistan bat again.

The nagging line employed by Abbas helped him trap Paul Stirling (11) leg before just after lunch igniting hopes of Pakistan wrapping up the game inside four days.

Amir picked up his 100th Test wicket when he lured Gary Wilson into a drive at a wide delivery that was caught by Haris Sohail in the slips.

It seemed then only a formality that Pakistan would knock over the Ireland lower order for the win by Kevin O’Brien and Stuart Thompson came together for a gritty 114 run seventh wicket stand.

Kevin O’Brien (118*) became the first man to make a Test fifty for Ireland with Thompson (51) following him to the milestone before getting a ripper from Shadab Khan that disturbed his stumps.

He would bring up the first Test century for Ireland late in the day to tap a fine day of resistance with a very special moment.

The centurion looked to be visibly tiring at the tail end of the day and nearly 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.