Pakistan collapse gives Ireland hope of remarkable Test victory
May 16, 2018, 13:40
But there would be no encore from O'Brien.
Niall O'Brien, after enduring a 10-ball duck in the first innings, was much more positive this time, which was fortunate because the scoreboard would have stopped otherwise as William Porterfield faced 25 balls without scoring. Now the rest of the world, surely, believes them too. His first 14 Tests saw Amir take 51 wickets at just a fraction over 23 runs apiece, but his 16 completed Tests since his comeback yielded 44 wickets at a more expensive average of 37.25.
This was O'Brien's first worldwide century since he scored the fastest-ever World Cup hundred, off just 50 balls, in Ireland's stunning win over England at Bangalore seven years ago.
"I'm extremely proud of how we went about it".
"How the lads acquitted themselves throughout the five days, I can not fault anyone at all".
Imam ran a double to fittingly guide Pakistan to victory with five wickets still intact. Three overs later, when Haris Sohail was caught by Ed Joyce at gully off the bowling of Boyd Rankin, the Irish camp was buzzing.
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.
This, however, was Pakistan, arguably world cricket's most celebrated bottlers of low chases and no strangers to a panicky batting collapse - the target of 160 right in the sweet spot of low enough to appear easy but just high enough to be a challenge.
Ireland gained another wicket to keep their hopes alive through Andrew Balbirnie, outing Babar Azam for 59 - bringing the game to 140-4 with Pakistan needing 20 to win.
"To get up to close to 350 showed what we've got in the changing room and the passion that we have for playing our cricket".
"They came out and played positively, which was always going to give us a chance, but it was what they had to do to get over the line".
Ireland made their entry to Test cricket with a 5-wicket defeat against Pakistan but showed their experience giving the visiting side a real fight.
When Pakistan slipped to 14 for three in pursuit of 160, the Irish were in with a sniff of marking their inaugural men's Test with a victory to compare with any.
However, O'Brien's incredible performance helped his side gain a foothold in the match, building a lead of 139 ahead of today's final innings.
"We had a lot of great support throughout the five days and there were a lot of special moments". "Unfortunately, he came back after five years (out) and since he came back he has played every format for us", said Mahmood.
"But Test cricket is Test cricket for a reason".
Cricket Ireland have said that one or two Test matches a year will probably be the limit that the Ireland side will play.
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