Kenya v Ireland, Intercontinental Cup, Nairobi, 1st day October 11, 2008

O'Brien hundred gives Ireland control

Cricinfo staff

Ireland 282 for 3 (N O'Brien 135, Botha 65*) v Kenya

Niall O'Brien used all his first-class experience to compile a crucial 135 as Ireland took control of their vital Intercontinental Cup match against Kenya. O'Brien's century, alongside valuable contributions from Alex Cusack and Andre Botha, lifted Ireland to 282 for 3 at the close.

They need to win the match to keep alive their title defence and retain hope of a hat-trick of Intercontinental Cup successes. Victory isn't vital for Kenya, but only if they collect first-innings points and there is plenty of catching-up to be done after they managed three wickets in 98 overs. It was all a stark contrast to Ireland's previous match, against Namibia, which was over inside six sessions.

The day started well for the home side when Peter Ongondo removed Will Porterfield for 1 as he misjudged the line while shoulder arms. However, the Kenya bowlers found subsequent breakthroughs hard to come by. O'Brien played the dominant role in a second-wicket stand of 146 with Cusack and reached his hundred off 171 balls.

However, Cusack's role shouldn't be forgotten as he compiled 42 from 178 deliveries before falling to Hiren Varaiya, edging a drive to Maurice Ouma, the ball after the wicketkeeper fumbled a stumping chance. O'Brien formed another useful stand with Botha, but his fine innings ended when he lobbed a catch to mid-on off Ongondo.

It was a chance for Kenya to grab a few late wickets, but they couldn't remove Botha or Kevin O'Brien before the close, Botha passing his half century off 62 balls with the prospect of more to come.