O'Brien century gives Ireland hope against Pakistan

O'Brien century gives Ireland hope against Pakistan

That win, coupled with another big upset by the Irish against Pakistan in Kingston, Jamaica at the previous World Cup - where O'Brien was there at the finish alongside Trent Johnston - kickstarted the push for Ireland to get Test status.

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 O'Brien's swashbuckling knock evoked memories of his heroics against England in 2011, when he smashed the fastest century in World Cup history. "If I I can continue [tomorrow] for another hour and a half, to 170-odd, this could top it", he said.

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.

The O'Brien family was well represented for the historic occasion, with O'Brien joking that he had about "85 whatsapps" to trawl through later that evening.

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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. But left-arm quick Amir was back on the field from the start of Monday's fourth day. The match was scheduled to begin on May 11 (Friday) but it could only start on Saturday after the first day was completely washed out due to rain.

The prospect of defeat loomed ever larger after Amir dismissed any doubts over his ability to produce pace by sending Niall O'Brien's (18) off and middle stumps careering out of the ground, before then claiming the scalp of captain William Porterfield (32).

At first he was in partnership, once again, with Paul Stirling but by the 58th over Abbas was getting good reverse swing and it did it for the Middlesex professional, the sixth lbw victim of the match. Ireland has a lead of 139 runs and its three wickers are remaining.

Pakistan took the new ball but it was leg-spinner Shadab Khan, not the pacemen, who struck next when he turned one sharply to bowl left-hander Thompson for 53.

Kevin O'Brien is hoping his latest worldwide ton will lead to an Ireland victory - just as his century against England did at the World Cup seven years ago.

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