5/14/2018 11:33:05 PM

Ton-up O'Brien turns Ireland Test debut against Pakistan around

Ton-up O

Dublin: Kevin O'Brien wrote a fresh chapter in cricket's record books by becoming the first Ireland batsman to score a Test century as the hosts turned their debut in the format against Pakistan upside down at Malahide on Monday.

In danger of an innings defeat after being made to follow-on in their inaugural men's Test, Ireland ended the fourth day on 319 for seven in their second innings -- a lead of 139 runs -- with O'Brien 118 not out.

This was O'Brien's first hundred for Ireland in all formats since he hit the all-time fastest-ever World Cup century by any batsman, off 50 balls, against England at Bangalore in 2011.

And it meant Ireland had a shot at becoming just the fourth side in the 141-year-history of Test cricket to win a match after following-on. 

"It's a very proud and emotional moment," O'Brien told reporters after stumps, having batted for five hours and 40 minutes on Monday. 

"To get there, it's a great honour. Hopefully now we've put ourselves in a good position to go and win it."

Asked to compare this innings with his World Cup ton, the 34-year-old replied: "I still think for me Bangalore is definitely number one, just for the sheer moment it was and against who it was, in the World Cup."

Ireland were 95 for four when O'Brien, who top-scored with 40 in their first-innings 130, walked into bat on Monday.

But as well as his own composed strokeplay, O'Brien had support from Stuart Thompson in a seventh-wicket stand of 114.

Sarfraz Ahmed became the first Pakistan captain to enforce the follow-on in a Test in 16 years when he sent Ireland back in again on Sunday, a move that may have seen the tourists victorious by now had Ireland openers Ed Joyce and William Porterfield not both been dropped in single figures off Mohammad Amir on the third day. 

Ireland were also helped by the fact that Amir, who earlier on Monday took his 100th Test wicket, was off the field for much of the day's final session as he struggled with the recurrence of a knee injury that had flared up again on Sunday.

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