Kevin O'Brien believes historic century can spur Ireland to unlikely victory

Kevin O'Brien believes historic century can spur Ireland to unlikely victory

Kevin O'Brien believes historic century can spur Ireland to unlikely victory

There was also more than a hint of regret over how they lost their final three second innings wickets cheaply this morning, leaving Pakistan with a relatively modest victory target of 160 when an extra 50-60 runs could have caused the visitors serious problems.

Ireland had briefly harboured dreams of shocking Pakistan in their debut Test but Imam-ul-Haq, playing his first Test himself, denied the Irish with a composed innings.

Kevin O'Brien failed to add any runs to his overnight score of 118 before swinging at a wide delivery from Mohammad Abbas and edging to first slip. But after Tyrone Kane had seen out Tuesday's opening over from Mohammad Amir, who took his 100th Test wicket on Monday, Abbas struck.

He made up for it with a composed unbeaten half-century in the second innings to steer Pakistan to victory.

A fourth-wicket partnership of 126 effectively settled the issue, despite a late run-out featuring Andy Balbirnie and bowler Stuart Thompson, and a wicket for Thompson who will be considered one of the finds of the week for Ireland coach Graham Ford.

"How we went about that to get up close to 350 just showed what we've got in the changing rooms and the passion that we've got".

At that stage, Amir had taken two wickets for no runs in six balls.

The way Imam in particular coped under grey skies against some lively pace bowling was an especially heartening sign for Pakistan ahead of their upcoming two-Test series in England, where conditions are likely to be similar to those they encountered at Dublin's Malahide. Babar Azam was with him on 9.

The now 26-year-old Amir's cricket career nearly came to an end following his involvement in a spot-fixing scandal during a 2010 Test against England at Lord's.

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Even a draw would be a marvellous achievement for a country which was awarded Test status only last June.

Man of the match, Kevin O'Brien, hit a century yesterday - he says it was tough to regain his focus today.

Imam-ul-Haq, the nephew of selection chief and former Test batsman Inzamam-ul-Haq, saw the tourists to victory with a total of 160 for five.

"Hopefully in the next week or two there's going to be hundreds of little kids aspiring to be Kevin O'Brien in backstreet cricket", added Porterfield.

Now Sarfraz Ahmed, if only for a few hours perhaps, has to contemplate whether he made a wise move by becoming the first Pakistan captain to enforce a Test follow-on in 16 years.

"I think it's very good for Pakistan as a team to chase this on the fifth day". But overall, all the lads are delighted and they all played a roll throughout the game, so it is great for ourselves and it gives us a lot of belief.

The day didn't start as brightly for the Irish boys as they would've hoped. It's in the name and you do get tested throughout.

Only three teams have won a test after following on - England in 1894 and 1981, and India in 2001.

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