Kevin O'Brien scripts another milestone for Ireland

Kevin O'Brien slammed the first Test hundred for Ireland

O'Brien's circumspect batting - his 118 has come from 216 balls and contained 12 fours - has ensured Ireland stay alive at Malahide.

The centurion looked to be visibly tiring at the tail end of the day and almost chopped Abbas on shortly after edging Amir wide of the only slip and probably should have been out leg before in the final over of the day but he and Tyrone Kane (8*) would end the day still out there on 319 for 7 having added an unbroken stand of 48 for the seventh wicket to take Ireland to a lead of 139.

On Day 4, Ireland resuming their second innings on 64-0 after following on and still needed 116 more runs to make Pakistan bat again.

But wickets tumbled along with their departure, before O'Brien and Stuart Thompson (53) steadied the ship.

However, he insisted that the moment, though "very proud and emotional", still ranked second in his personal annals, behind the blistering 50-ball hundred with which he stunned England at Bangalore in the 2011 World Cup.

O'Brien frustrated Pakistan's hopes of an early finish. The hundred was the first ever test century for Ireland. However, the away side made a strong comeback with their lower order and went on to declare at 310/9 just before lunch on Day 3 as debutant Faheem Ashraf scored a memorable 83. The match was scheduled to begin on May 11 (Friday) but it could only start on Saturday after the first day was completely washed out due to rain.

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Ed Joyce, a sentimental favourite to score that first Test century, had added a cover-driven boundary to his overnight 39 when he ran himself out, calling for a single to wide mid-on and finding his 39-year-old legs just unable to beat a direct hit.

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.

The lead of 139 is precarious and Ireland's chances of victory hinge on keeping the Dubliner at the crease as long as possible and then following that up with an inspired spell of bowling.

Amir, given a jail sentence and banned from cricket for five years as a result of his involvement in a spot-fixing scandal during the 2010 Lord's Test, took his 100th wicket in 31 matches at this level when Gary Wilson was held in the slips by Haris Sohail.

He did lose Thompson, bowled between bat and pad by a huge leg spinner from Shadab Khan, but Kane, three years after his previous Ireland game, was nerveless as he let O'Brien dominate the scoring and inch closer to the historic landmark.

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