ICC Media Release
Centuries from Kevin O'Brien and Andre Botha, along with an unbeaten 92 by Andrew White gave Ireland a record first innings total in Nairobi on Sunday.
And with three Kenya wickets falling before the close, the defending champion is in a strong position going into day three of this crucial ICC Intercontinental Cup match. Put simply, with Kenya closing on 62-3, Ireland needs another 17 wickets in two days to book its place in the final.
Resuming the day on 282-3, Botha, O'Brien and White took the score on to a mammoth 578-4 before captain William Porterfield called his men ashore and put the tired Kenya fielders out of their misery. The only Ireland wicket to fall in the day was that of Botha, who finally fell for 109, as Ireland amassed the biggest innings score in its history and the third highest in the Intercontinental Cup to date.
If Botha's departure had been cause for Kenyan optimism, it was short lived as White and O'Brien proceeded to put together an unbroken partnership of 214, an Ireland record for the fifth wicket, beating the 175 that Alec O'Riordan and Jim Harrison put on against Denmark at Castle Avenue , Dublin in June 1973.
Not to be outdone by his elder brother, Niall, who yesterday hit 135, O'Brien compiled 171 not out – his maiden first-class century and the eighth highest individual score in Irish cricket's 153-year history. It was a knock that included seven fours and no fewer than 12 sixes. It is the most number of maximums hit by an Ireland player in one innings, beating Peter Davy, who smashed eight against the MCC at Lord's in 1999.
But all these tumbling records will count for nought unless Ireland can secure an outright victory because such is the ICC Intercontinental Cup table, a drawn match will mean that Kenya progresses to next month's final.
But it promises to be a tough two days for Steve Tikolo's men as they try to save this game. Having so many runs to play with, Ireland will be hoping it does not have to bat again and that it can take the remaining 17 wickets to secure an innings victory. Kenya , on the other hand, knows it just has to keep wickets in hand and it will be through to its second ICC Intercontinental Cup final.
Play resumes on Monday morning at 1000 with Kenya on 62-3. Key man Tikolo is still there on 24 with Hiren Varaiya, who is yet to score. Alex Obanda (seven), debutant Seren Waters (18) and Rakep Patel (12) are their fallen comrades with Boyd Rankin, Peter Connell and Kyle McCallan getting their names in the wickets column for Ireland .