IRE🆚PAK: Kevin O'Brien's Magic Ton💯 Allows Ireland to Dream💭

Day 4 - Stumps

Ireland 130 and 319/7 (K O'Brien 118*, Thompson 53, Amir 3-57) lead Pakistan 310/9 dec by 139 runs


Ireland's rise from World Cup giant-killers to fully fledged Test nation has featured a band of familiar faces, few more recognisable than that of Kevin O'Brien. From Sabina Park 2007, when he was in the middle to help seal victory over Pakistan, to Bangalore 2011, when his 50-ball hundred (and pink dye job) slayed England, O'Brien has been at the centre of Ireland's story. Now he is the first Irishman to score a Test hundred.

Having been made to follow on 180 runs behind, many would have written off Ireland's chances of taking the game into day five; instead, they will resume their second innings with a lead of 139 and the prospect of giving Pakistan an awkward run chase - at the very least.

Amir's three wickets earlier in the day had put Pakistan into a position from which an innings win seemed entirely possible - even likely - but O'Brien and Stuart Thompson combined for a 114-run rearguard that not only pushed Ireland in front and burnished local pride, but allowed them to sleep on the possibility of another famous upset.

After the dismissal of Thompson, No. 9 Tyrone Kane then dug in stoically for an hour and a half for 8 off 67 balls to frustrate Pakistan further.

Having taken 4 wickets in brisk fashion during the morning, and then a couple more after lunch, Pakistan's seamers went flat as the day wore on. Thompson was dropped on 6 off the bowling of Rahat Ali, a low edge to Sarfraz Ahmed's left, but was largely untroubled in recording a maiden Test half-century that was marked by growing confidence. Rahat was particularly innocuous and Thompson's thump for four to bring up fifty and the century stand with O'Brien summed up the shift in fortunes.

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