Masterclass: Kevin O'Brien Becomes First Irishman To Score A Test Century

Kevin O'Brien's historic ton leads Ireland's remarkable fightback

But Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam shared a 126-run fourth wicket stand as Pakistan battled to their winning target of 160.

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.

Ireland led by 159 runs, and Pakistan - which scored 310/9 in its first innings - was patient with the chase.

And that ultimately set the tone for the rest of the final day as Ireland came up a little short, as they ended up with a second innings total of 339 with just 20 runs added in the first hour's play. Nearly five hours later, when he reached three figures, O'Brien - at 34 the third oldest of the 105 players to score a century on Test debut - had faced 186 balls and hit 10 boundaries and Ireland were 116 runs in front.

Before this match, Amir had taken 95 wickets in 30 Tests and last season he helped Essex win English cricket's first-class County Championship.

Irrespective of the result, Ireland had shown going into the final day that they belonged in test cricket, and their final day performance further rubber stamped this statement - arriving into the Test cricket world with notable merit.

Pakistan survived an almighty scare before condemning Ireland to a five-wicket defeat in the hosts' maiden Test match on day five at Malahide.

"Three or four balls stayed quite low and went under Kevin's bat in the last over so hopefully it does get a bit up and down tomorrow", said Thompson, who himself returned a three-for in the first innings.

Ireland have recovered from a tough day three to make history in Malahide as Kevin O'Brien made an epic test century in their opening test match. "And we were in that first innings, but to get to 340 shows the character in that changing room and the passion we have to play for our country".

Pakistan struggled to complete a relatively modest run-chase against Sri Lanka a year ago and a furious bowling spell from Ireland's seamers sent a thrill of expectation around the ground.

"It's a very proud and emotional moment", he said. Tim Murtagh bowled out both Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq, while Boyd Rankin dismissed Haris Sohail.

At that stage, Amir had taken two wickets for no runs in six balls. "Otherwise I think we had the game under control".

"The leg byes, I knew it hit my leg obviously", Kevin O'Brien explained. It's in the name and you do get tested throughout.

There was still time for Ireland to take a couple more wickets but by then the match had escaped their grasp. After Ireland's roaring start with the ball on the final day, Azam got together with Imam-ul-Haq to take the visitors to 52-3 at lunch.

"This Test match will have gone a long way to providing the next generation of cricketers, I'm sure".

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