Ireland showed they belong at the Test level as they battled their way to a healthy lead at stumps on day four of the Dublin Test against Pakistan with Kevin O’Brien scoring the country’s maiden Test century.
Kevin etched his name into the history books with an unbeaten 118 to guide the hosts to 319/7 on the fourth day of the Dublin Test.
Pakistan were hoping for a quick finish to the encounter after fast bowler Mohammad Amir picked up his 100th Test wicket but Kevin had other ideas as he helped stretch the lead to 139 after the hosts were bowled out for 130 in the first essay.
GLORY FOR AMIR
100 Test wickets for Amir, would have had so many more if he had the right people around him, both when he made his debut and even now, to catch. But daer aaye, dursat aaye, @iamamirofficial! :)— Nikhil 🏏 (@CricCrazyNIKS) May 14, 2018
The day started on an uncertain note for Pakistan quick Amir following a recurrence of his knee injury that forced him out of the attack on day three. He had to bowl cautiously but still had enough skill to move the ball around and get the nick off Gary Wilson’s bat to pick up his 100th Test wicket.
Amir became only the second left-arm fast bowler from Pakistan, after the legendary Wasim Akram, to reach three figures in Test bowling. However, his recurring foot injuries will be on the mind of Pakistan’s management, more than his record.
O’BRIEN AND THOMPSON HIT BACK
HISTORY!! Kevin O'Brien brings up the first ever 100 for Ireland in Test Cricket cheered on by his parents Ginger and Camilla O'Brien pic.twitter.com/mkyLs7DtpC— Irish Cricketers (@IrishCricketers) May 14, 2018
Six down for 157, the match seemed done and dusted. But Ireland showed that while they are making their Test debut, they know how to battle for long periods. The collective first-class experience of Ireland stands at 1,103 matches, which is substantially more than Pakistan’s 799.
That experience came into play as Kevin led a counter-attack along with Stuart Thompson (53) with the two adding 114 runs to not only take Ireland to safety but turn the tables on Pakistan.
O’Brien reached his century with a squeezed two off Amir to become just the fourth batsman to score a century in his country’s inaugural Test.
IRELAND SENSE SOMETHING SPECIAL
Test cricket is a funny game and Ireland will start to think of forcing the issue as they are 139 runs ahead with three wickets in hand. Ireland don’t have a lot to lose and given Pakistan’s inexperienced batting order that had been exposed in the first innings, they will line up for the final day’s play full of confidence.
O’Brien will get the license to throw his bat around on the last day to garner as many runs as possible and then look to put pressure on Pakistan.
Pakistan left-arm fast bowler Mohammad Amir reached the 100 Test wicket mark during the fourth day’s play in the Dublin Test against Ireland.
Amir took to the field despite a persistent knee problem that forced him off the field late on Day Three. The pacer reached the milestone when he had Gary Wilson edge an away moving ball to Haris Sohail at second slip.
Amir became the second left-arm fast bowler from Pakistan after the legendary Wasim Akram to pick up 100 Test wickets. Akram reached the landmark in his 30th Test while Amir did so in his 31st.
Mentioned on television commentary - since his return to Test cricket Mohammad Amir has had 15 catches dropped off his bowling #Cricket— Saj Sadiq (@Saj_PakPassion) May 13, 2018
However, the day had started on an uncertain note for Amir after bowling coach Azhar Mahmood admitted the team was concerned about the nature of his injury and overall workload.
“Unfortunately, he came back after five years (out) and since he came back he has played every format for us,” Mahmood had said.
“We have to manage his workload as well so maybe that’s a sign for us to in the future to see where he stands. We are working on that, and hopefully we can come up with something.”
The left-arm pacer had to leave the field twice during the third day’s play in the ongoing Test against Ireland at Dublin due to fitness issues.
Speaking to the media after the end of the day’s play, Pakistan bowling coach Azhar Mahmoud stated that the side will need to be extremely careful in managing the workload of the pace spearhead.
“Unfortunately, he came back after five years (out) and since he came back he has played every format for us.
“We have to manage his workload as well so maybe that’s a sign for us to in the future to see where he stands. We are working on that, and hopefully we can come up with something,” he said.
“We want him to play Test cricket because he’s our number one bowler and we want him to run in and bowl for us so if workload — I have seen a lot of bowlers and their bodies can’t take it, so they just manage to play one format or two formats. But for him, it’s a concern for us and hopefully we will manage his workload in the future,” Mahmoud added.
Amir had to leave the field for the second time while in the middle of his fourth over in Ireland’s second innings but Mahmoud still expects the pacer to be able to bowl on Monday.
The 26-year-old had been excellent with the ball before going off the field. He picked up two Irish wickets in the first innings while conceding only nine runs in his 10 overs before having two catches dropped off his bowling in the second.
“He has got a chronic knee problem which has slightly flared up. Hopefully, he will be ok tomorrow to bowl for us. He’s having treatment and hopefully tonight we will do a bit more treatment, tomorrow morning, ice as well, so he will be fine,” the bowling coach explained.
With the first Test against England at Lord’s just a week away, Pakistan will be hoping Amir can overcome his injury troubles quickly.