Ireland's O'Brien brothers, Kevin and Niall, reflected on the two-year anniversary of their team's first-ever Test match, against Pakistan in Malahide.
"Like most people there making their Test debut, it was a feeling of pride, mixed in with nervous energy – even a bit of relief. What every player had put in before, all the years training to finally become a Test cricketer – it’s such an amazing thing to achieve. To call yourself a Test cricketer is a dream come true," Kevin told Cricket Ireland, on Tuesday, 12 May.
Kevin's older brother, Niall, also reflected on the moment he received his Test cap from Andrew White, Chair of National Men’s Selectors and former Ireland international.
"Whitey and I are very good friends and have been for a very long time, having been teammates since underage cricket - we were even roommates at the Academy in Port Elizabeth back in 2002 – so for him to give me my first Test cap was an emotional moment. I’d waited a very, very long time to get that cap and to do so in front on my friends and family in my home town of Dublin, it was an amazing moment," said Naill.
Sent in to bat, Pakistan made 310/9d after the first day of the historic Test was washed out due to heavy rain. In reply, Ireland were bowled out for 130 with Kevin top-scoring with a 68-ball 40. In the second innings, the all-rounder made an impressive 118, becoming Ireland's maiden Test centurion.
Kevin reflected on that memorable hundred, and admitted that he experienced a case of the nervous nineties. "I was definitely nervous in the nineties, of course, it’s not every day you get a chance to score a Test hundred," he said. "But I think the circumstances of the game probably took my mind off the thoughts of scoring a century. At that stage I was just looking to score more runs for the team and build a lead to get us into a position to win the game.
"The shot to bring up the hundred wasn’t my most fluent, but probably the most important. Once I saw it went into the gap I knew I was there. There was a huge feeling of relief, excitement, and pride again. It was just emotional - to be the first Test centurion for your country.
"I remember Tyrone [Kane] was shouting at me to come back for three, but as I ran past him for the second I just said ‘calm down mate, two will do’, and just jogged the second run and lapped up the applause from the crowd and soaked it all in. It took a couple of minutes to look around and get my concentration back for the next ball, and to focus on trying to be there at the end of the day’s play," he added.
After fightback in the second session courtesy Kevin's brilliant hundred and Stuart Thompson's fifty, Ireland posted 339, setting Pakistan a target of 160 on the final day. The visitors went on to win by five wickets.
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