Sport on TV: O'Brien hits a purple patch to become the hairo of Ireland

As if smashing England all round the park in Bangalore on Wednesday was not bad enough, Ireland's hero Kevin O'Brien then took his helmet off and revealed his purple quiff to celebrate his historic hundred off 50 balls. Perhaps Shane Warne's Advanced Hair Studio has taken on an acidhead stylist. Purple hair, green beards, orange sideburns – oh no, hang on. That's their natural colour.

The hilarious adverts for Warne's Wig Shop on Sky Sports were a welcome diversion from the action as England put down chance after chance. They might have picked up some brisk business in England as we tore our hair out at home. Mark Nicholas "interviewed" the spinner with his own carefully coiffured bouffant on display and pictures of Michael Vaughan's syrup all over the walls. It was like a room full of preening peacocks. In the week, the England wicketkeeper Steve Davies came out, the only secrets left in the game are: what is reverse swing and is Mark Nicholas's hair real?

Back to the cricket, and England have spent the last week making our hair stand on end. The commentators were typically condescending about the Irish, although at least they didn't resort to saying "the bloke with the blue barnet" whenever they couldn't remember their names – they hadn't dyed their hair to make themselves more identifiable, but to show their support for a cancer charity.

When Kevin's brother Niall was out slogging to leave Ireland on 111 for 5, David Lloyd snapped: "Maybe he thinks 29 is a good score." No, Bumble, he just thought it was time for his big brother to take over. But the game was surely up? "They've collapsed in a heap," shouted Nasser Hussain, though soon it would be us who were sinking to our knees and reaching for the smelling salts. Later, the Irish would collapse in a different way after drinking every last drop of Guinness on the subcontinent.

The scenes of jubilation in the Irish dressing-room looked like the most raucous ever seen at a cricket ground. Hussain got caught up in the excitement: "Yeah son! Well played! Throw your bat in the air! Throw your helmet away! Pick 'im up! Put 'im on the ground!" He got so carried away that he slipped into fluent estuary English and was dropping more vowels than England had dropped catches. But it sounded less like a celebration than what might happen in the dressing room after Hussain had been run out for nought by a team-mate.

England couldn't get O'Brien out; he ran himself out simply because he ran out of breath. He might have said "Not bad for a fat lad", as Andrew Flintoff once declared after winning a Man of the Match award, and the comparisons were evident from the solid physique and meaty hitting, even down to the long-peaked cap and the spitting and sniffing.

Like Freddie, he is an entertainer, and a self-effacing one too. "We could have just pottered around and got 220 off 50 overs for 8 or 9, and the game would have been pretty boring to watch. There wouldn't have been anything to watch on TV," O'Brien told Mike Atherton, who may not have grasped the notion that batting can be fun to watch. O'Brien had certainly pressed all the right buttons and England weren't remotely in control. It must have made Strauss all the happier to know that O'Brien wasn't even trying to win.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Database Executive - Leading Events Marketing Company - London

£23000 - £25000 per annum + 25 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: Databas...

Recruitment Genius: Publishing Assistant

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for a...

Guru Careers: Graduate Account Executive / Digital Account Executive

£20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Graduate Digital Account Exec ...

Guru Careers: Print Project Manager

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: A Print Project Manager is needed to join one...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk