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Match Report
Derek Scott

The same team was picked for two matches with the one exception that JK Hopkins was picked for the Dublin game in place of OD Colhoun. Also A Finlay was added to the team for the Dublin fixture to make a squad of 12. The actual team as selected for the Belfast match actually played.

Not since 1938 had the Australians been in Ireland and it was a great pity that rain and a gale should have interfered with the first match in Belfast. Rain and wet ground prevented play on either day until 1:30 PM and on the second day the gale blew to such an extent that any championship match would have been stopped. Bowlers were blown off their stride, batsmen knocked away from their stance and catching a high ball virtually impossible. Many slates were ripped off nearby houses. The Australians, led by Benaud, sportingly played on to entertain the crowd which was satisfactory in view of the conditions. Benaud's only surrender to the conditions was when he did not declare at tea on the second day. By then Australians led by 172 with 130 minutes left but Benaud cannot be blamed for refusing to send his men out to field. This Australian team skilfully led by the popular Benaud had won the Test series by two matches to one. The batting was probably better than England's but it did seem that only Davidson and Benaud were Test match bowlers and Benaud had arm trouble for two months. Their willingness to attack at all times however had its just reward.

The Australian XI in Belfast was almost at full strength but although Colin McDonald played he was not really fit and batted at number 11. He is an opening bat but had wrist trouble for several months. Everybody else had played in the Test series except Kline, a left arm googly bowler and Jarman the reserve wicket-keeper. For Ireland Warke and Duffy, unavailable against MCC, returned instead of Corry and Finlay.

It was cold and bleak when Simpson and Grout opened for the Australians. Simpson hit O'Riordan for two fours in the first over and 26 were scored on 20 minutes when Simpson drove a return catch to the Irish captain. In his next over O'Riordan got one to lift at the left-handed Harvey and came off the shoulder of the bat and up in the air to the wicket-keeper. 30-2. The fast bowlers conceded 53 runs in 15 overs but when Huey came on he bowled Grout in his second over. 58-3. The first hour had produced about 60 but now with O'Neill and Benaud together the rate increased. They started quietly but O'Neill soon got into his stride and was very severe on Huey and Lyness. He was missed by Martin at slip when four which was just as well for the spectators who saw him driving and pulling with great power to reach 50 in 57 minutes. Then he hit both Lyness and Huey out of the attack. 12 were taken off Lyness's last over including a pull for six off and no-ball by O'Neill and Huey's last over yielded 15 with one straight driven six clean out of the ground. O'Riordan came back and should have had O'Neill at 83 caught when he skied one to Warke at leg slip. Meanwhile, Duffy had come on and after bowling a maiden had O'Neill caught off a mishit to cover. His 85 came in 80 minutes with two sixes and six fours. At this stage three wickets fell while two runs were added. O'Neill had been out at 143 and O'Riordan had Davidson caught at the wicket at 144 while Gaunt returned a catch to Duffy at 145.

Mackenzie (whose last wicket stand of 98 had done so much to win the Manchester Test) added 19 with Benaud before the latter hit his wicket to give Duffy his third wicket. Benaud had made 39 in 80 minutes. At 168 Huey caught Jarman off Duffy for 0 and before tea Hunter missed Mackenzie also off Duffy. At tea the score was 176-8. Kline, who made 26, was missed by Bernstein off Duffy, but the Leinster bowler eventually had Mackenzie magnificently caught by Hunter on the boundary behind the bowler. Hunter got to the ball, knocked it up and caught it again. 193-9-19. McDonald batted gingerly but saw 200 up when Kline hit O'Riordan for the fourth six of the innings. At 209 Kline was stumped off Duffy giving the latter the splendid figures of 6-29 in 13.2 overs.

At 5:10 PM Bergin and Martin began for Ireland against Mackenzie and Gaunt. Within minutes both were out. Bergin was caught by Jarman at the wicket off Mackenzie and Gaunt bowled Martin for 0. 2-2. Warke and Stevenson then added 50 in 45 minutes. Kline and Davidson came on but Stevenson hit Kline for three fours and then pulled a six before mistiming and giving Macdonald a catch at deep mid-off. Next over Warke was caught at long on by Harvey also off Kline. This was the first of four wickets that fell while the score remained at 64. Davidson had Duffy caught by Harvey at slip; Kline had Hunter caught by Benaud at slip and two balls later the same act was repeated with Bernstein as victim. So 64 for three became 64 for seven. Just on time Lyness pulled Kline to mid-wicket where Davidson made a catch to leave the close of play score 72-8, O'Riordan four not out. Kline had had a spell of 5-9.

The second day's play began at 1:30 PM. A lot of time was lost when water spilled from the plastic covers onto the wicket while the covers were being removed. O'Riordan and Colhoun resumed in bright sunshine and a gale! 38 were required to save the follow-on and one felt the Australians did not wish to prolong their spell in the field by trying to be in a position to enforce the follow on. Grout bowled from one end and the Irish pair had little difficulty in making the necessary 38 and adding four more for good measure. These runs came in just under an hour with O'Riordan doing almost all the scoring. Benaud came on and had Colhoun caught in his first over for an invaluable seven. Huey smote Benaud for three fours but O'Riordan trying a big hit off Davidson spooned the ball and was caught for a splendid 38.

The Austrians led by 83 and had about 75 minutes batting before tea. 8 came off O'Riordan's first over but Bernstein bowled Grout with his fifth ball. 12-1. Harvey again disappointed and was out for a single, caught by Bergin at cover off Bernstein off a mistimed drive. 24-2. Meanwhile Simpson was scoring rapidly and he and O'Neill raised 60 after 44 minutes. Then Huey had O'Neill stumped in his second over. Benaud was bowled by Hunter at 72 and Simpson, after making 44 in 65 minutes skied Huey and was caught by Stevenson. At tea the score was 89-5 with Davidson and Kline together. A declaration was expected giving Ireland 173 to make in 130 minutes. But Benaud decided against fielding in the gale and instead Davidson and Kline indulged in some hurricane (!) hitting. Davidson slogged at everything that Hunter and Huey bowled and in 17 minutes 50 were added. Davidson hit three glorious sixes and Kline one. Several balls went high in the air but the gale made this type of catch almost impossible. Having reached 50 in 26 minutes Davidson gave himself up to the first ball Lyness bowled. 141-6-50. When Kline was out, caught off Bernstein at 155, Benaud declared at 155 for seven off only 32 overs!

90 minutes remained and in this time the Australians bowled 40 overs, only 11 of them by recognised bowlers and Benaud kept wicket. Still Ireland lost 6 for 155, but they entered the spirit of the thing by rapid scoring. Martin hit Simpson's first ball for three and Bergin was bowled by the third ball for 0 and Harvey bowled Warke in the next over. 6-2 Martin, playing very well, and Stevenson put on 25 before the latter was held at slip off Simpson. Duffy came next. He had hurt his back bowling in the first innings and could not bowl again or bat properly. He was bowled by Jarman at 43. Hunter and Martin added 52, Hunter hitting a six and three fours. His 27 occupied only 17 minutes. O'Riordan and Martin put on 31 in 20 minutes, Martin reaching 50 in 70 minutes with a six off Jarman. After making 57 in 80 minutes he was bowled by, of all people, McDonald! O'Riordan and Bernstein saw time out.

Ormeau, Belfast