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Gary Wilson relieved to receive positive injury update

 

By Ian Callender

While Kevin O'Brien took the headlines on a memorable fourth day of Ireland's inaugural Test match in Malahide, Gary Wilson was receiving the good news that the blow to his elbow before play on Sunday did not result in a break.

"All good," said Wilson after he had batted for a second time in the match. "I've got the all clear, although it was still pretty painful to bat. Yesterday I was drugged up and could only score with sort of deflections. I didn't feel I could put the bat into the ball. But it was great to hear the news that there's no break."

Ironically, Wilson could score only 12 yesterday before he was caught at slip, 21 fewer than his unbeaten battle against the pain on Sunday, but his dismissal let in Stuart Thompson and the Eglinton captain rose to the occasion with his third Ireland 50 as he shared their first Test century stand (114) with O'Brien.

"It was really special and Kevin made it a little bit easier for me by rotating the strike. It was testing out there but we got through it," said Thompson.

"We didn't look too much at the scoreboard, just kept batting, put the partnership together and were lucky to survive when Amir was beating the bat. But as long as we kept our heads down and reset the innings, our partnership kept growing."

Thompson scored only three from 21 balls in his first Test innings.

"I wasn't intentionally slow, but this time I played a few extra drives and got a bit of luck along the way," he added.

"The longer you are in there, it gets easier - although I didn't pick the last one too well - but I spoke to (Ed) Joyce and (William) Porterfield after the way they played the night before and just tried to copy them.

"Our objective at the start of the day was to bat as long as possible."

By the time O'Brien was closing in on his century, Thompson was back in the pavilion, suffering.

"We were probably more nervous than he was, those last five runs were agonising, but there were huge celebrations when he did it, a superb knock," he said.

"He always rises to the occasion and in our first Test match when we had to bat all day to give ourselves a chance, he is sitting 118 not out and it shows what kind of player he is and what kind of character he is."

Thompson's appearance on the Test stage is just as remarkable as O'Brien's innings, but after scoring back-to-back centuries for Eglinton, against Donemana, and for North West Warriors, against Leinster Lightning, he jumped back into the frame.

When asked if he expected to be standing there, he immediately said: "No.

"I still pinch myself now and again and to be here playing in the first Test is massive and to contribute helps as well. I got into a good rhythm in the first innings and hopefully if we can get as close to 200 as possible and get a good crack at them we can dream of bowling them out."

O'Brien, after admitting it was "a great honour to join a select list", joined the praise for his batting partner.

"Thommo batted unbelievably," he said. "I played against him 10 days ago when he got 160-odd and I was cursing him every time he whacked me to the boundary. But he played brilliantly after tea, he just hit the ball so sweetly and scored very quickly. It was a great innings, and then for TK (Tyrone Kane) to bat 60-odd balls in tough circumstances against a high-quality attack, hats off to the two guys."

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