The Irish cricketers are feeling nervous ahead of a historic final innings in Ireland’s first-ever test match at Lord’s, according to former Ireland cricketer Niall O'Brien.
Ireland remain in contention going into the final two days of the test after bowling England all out for 85 in their first innings, and could potentially secure a first test victory at just the third attempt.
Ireland’s achievement would be gigantic for the world of cricket where often it can take new test countries years or even decades to record a first test win. New Zealand took 26 years to get to achieve their first test win, while India took 20 years and Bangladesh six.
Ireland have been a test nation for little over a year and O’Brien, whose brother Kevin is currently a member of the team, said that Ireland beating England at Lord’s would “send shockwaves” through the cricketing world.
England had one final wicket to protect going into Friday but were bowled out by Stuart Thompson on the first ball leaving Ireland needing just 182 to win.
Speaking on Friday’s OTB AM, O'Brien explained that he was in contact with members of the team and said that naturally, the squad was feeling the pressure as the cricketing world pricks its ears towards Lord's for the final innings of a historic first test between the neighbouring countries.
“This morning, there's nerves about", O'Brien told Adrian Barry.
"I've been talking to a few of the boys and there are a few nerves kicking around in the dressing room. I'm hoping they can overcome those nerves. Not many teams chase over 175 in the last innings at Lord’s and win a test match so if they do it that's even more credit to the boys.”
Although the pressure will be on, O’Brien noted that so far Ireland have been steadfast despite England having put Ireland “on the back foot” during the world champions' second innings.
“I thought the skipper Porterfield marshalled his troops brilliantly. The lads showed unbelievable desire. They could have said: ‘You know what England are 170-1 we’re on the back foot. We had a great day yesterday but it's not going according to plan’. And the towel could have went in but they didn't they kept plugging away."
O’Brien had originally said that Ireland would be “happy” to chase 180 in their final innings and with 182 now to chase they have a real chance of causing a huge upset at Lord's.
“It's the chance for someone to make themselves an absolute superstar. If they do win it, and I think they can, it's going to be tough, it's going to be nervy it won't be a comfortable chase. But I'm backing [Kevin] O’Brien jr to be there at the end and winning the game for Ireland."