Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
Sports | By Johanna Francis

Ireland Test debut ends in five-wicket defeat by Pakistan

Ireland Test debut ends in five-wicket defeat by Pakistan

Add in the fact that on only three occasions previously has a team that was forced to follow on - as Ireland were after being bowled out for 130 in the first innings - gone on to win a Test match, one in each of the last three centuries.

Should they go on to claim a win in their first step into the unknown, it would surely prove to be one of the most striking results in worldwide cricket in recent times, with their opponents Pakistan being well-established test side.

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.

But at lunch Pakistan were 52 for three, still needing a further 108 runs to win, with left-handed opener Imam - the nephew of selection chief and former Pakistan batsman Inzamam-ul-Haq - 33 not out and Babar Azam nine not out.

The 34-year-old became the first player to score a Test century for Ireland, leading his side in a remarkable fightback against Pakistan in their maiden Test match.

The beaten Ireland captain William Porterfield is remaining positive: "It would have made for a very interesting game had lead got close to 200 runs and had we been able to break that partnership [between Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam] it could be a very interesting finish".

Ireland set Pakistan a victory target of 160 after getting bowled out for 339 just over half an hour into the final day of their one-off Test match on Tuesday.

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Ireland has shown strong nerves in their second innings as they replied strongly.

From the ignominy of 7/4 and having to follow on, Ireland, through the medium of O'Brien, have not just clawed back some much needed pride but unbelievably crafted a situation where they could possibly emerge as victors. Stuart Thompson has already scored two centuries this season for club and province and he was quickly into his stride, a four through mid-wicket the best of the bunch before the tea interval.

Tim Murtagh struck twice in quick succession, first finding the outside edge of Azhar Ali for two and then removing Asad Shafiq's off stump with a delivery which nipped back through the gate.

In their first-ever batting effort at Test level, the home team was put to the sword and collapsed in front of a fiery Pakistani bowling attack.

Kevin O'Brien is hoping his latest global ton will lead to an Ireland victory - just as his century against England did at the World Cup seven years ago.

"The crowd were going mad and I was running past Tyrone (Kane) going, 'Bloody leg byes!'"

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