Ireland put up a splendid show against the first Australian team to come here since 1968. Australia, put in, were 188-3. They collapsed to 227-9 and were saved by the last wicket stand of 64. From this moment the match became competitive and, for a while on the second evening, Australia had to make sure that Ireland did not score 188 to win in 145 minutes Ireland, with one exception, selected the team that played the last match of 1976 against Scotland. To strengthen the batting Michael Halliday was left out and Brendan O'Brien, a batsman, was included. OD Colhoun was playing his 75th match, 64 of which had been in succession.
The Australians were a young side. Six of their 17 players (Robinson, Hughes, Serjeant, Bright, Pascoe and Malone) had not played in a Test Match and Hookes had only played in one. Of the party G Chappell (Capt.), Robinson, Walters and Walker did not come to Ireland. Rod Marsh captained the team. Of the 13 players in Dublin, O'Keeffe and Malone did not play. On the tour of England, nine first-class matches had been played before this match. The first four were almost totally wiped out by rain. Australia had lost to Somerset and Gloucester and MCC. In the week before the Irish match the 3 one-day Prudential matches were played with England winning the series 2-1. Chappell and Sergeant were the only batting successes of the tour to this point. Walker, with 17 wickets, was the best bowler. The much feared Thomson played against Ireland but only bowled five overs without taking a wicket. The Leinster club again made excellent arrangements. Live TV for seven hours (£600), Rothmans (£1800), gate and brochure sales (£1400), brochure profit (£900) all combined to give a profit of £2500. The Australians were a very friendly party. The manager Len Maddox and Capt. Rod Marsh were very cooperative. On the day of arrival Messrs. Guinness gave them lunch and they attended a Phoenix Park race meeting that evening. That night the Irish Cricket President, Alex Dunlop, had a reception in his house for the four Australian officials.
At noon on a sunny but cool day, Australia were put in to bat. It was O'Riordan's sixth successive toss win since taking over from AJ Linehan in 1975. The wicket was very slow. McCosker and Davis opened carefully against Corlett and Elder. 14 had been scored when, in Elder's forth over, Davis pushed a ball to Short at midwicket. He set out for a bad run, was sent back but failed to make it. Serjeant came in. He played himself in and then hit Elder for 6-4-4 in one over. O'Riordan came on for Corlett. In his second over Colhoun did not get to a difficult catch from Serjeant. 50 came up in an hour. Now the pace increased with Serjeant hitting out. He hit O'Riordan for three fours in an over. Monteith came on for the 24th over with the score at 72. The wicket was too slow for him. In two overs he conceded 26 runs, 25 of them to Serjeant. Two successive sixes went into a garden on the pavilion's left and the next through the bar window! The first of these took Serjeant to 50 in 61 balls and 57 minutes. 100 came up, the second 50 in only 25 minutes. Corlett came back for Monteith and had Serjeant LBW pulling across the line. 106-2-63. Serjeant with clean driving hit three sixes and nine fours. The left-handed Hookes came in and kept up the tempo. He had scored five centuries in six innings, including four in two successive matches, for South Australia last season. Just before lunch Monteith replaced O'Riordan. At lunch, after two hours play, Australia were 142-2 off 37 overs, McCosker a careful 40 and Hookes 23.
Afterwards wickets began to fall. At 150 Monteith lured McCosker down the wicket and he was stumped for 40. Hughes, who had played at Rathmines for Watsonians, in 1976, hit Corlett for a six and a four and Hookes went from 38 to 52 in an over from Monteith, 6-2-6. As 188 Hughes was stumped for 14 off Monteith. Two overs and three runs later Monteith bowled Hookes. 191-5-58. Hookes' 58 had two sixes and seven fours and he batted for 72 minutes. At 200 Cosier was bowled by Monteith for two and Marsh suffered a similar fate with the total on 205. Corlett had been plugging away and he now took two wickets. At 211 Thompson was caught by Elder behind the bowler off a huge skier. Bright hit three fours in his 16 and was dropped by Short off Corlett at short square leg at 227. Brendan O'Brien caught him on a good running catch at midwicket. 227-9. Now came Pascoe to join Dymock. In 11 overs they added 64 by dint of intelligent hitting. At 243 Pascoe was dropped on the run by Reese on the boundary off Monteith. Elder came back for Corlett and Pascoe hit him for 14 in the over. Next over he hit Monteith for six and then he took 10 of an over from Elder and was dropped by Corlett. Eventually, after 64 runs in 32 minutes, Corlett caught Pascoe (40) off Monteith. This gave Monteith 6-97 in 21 overs, good bowling considering the 26 of his first two overs.
Tea was taken and Ireland started at 4:50 PM with close of play due at 7 PM. Thompson bowled five overs for 27 runs which included seven no-balls. He had Reith dropped at second slip by Davis with the score on 17. Reith did most of the early scoring. When the total reached 23 he played crooked at Pascoe and was bowled for 16. Bright (slow left arm) and Dymock (medium fast left arm) took up the attack but Short and J Harrison batted sensibly and correctly. 50 came up in the 14th over. Pascoe came back, Bright changed ends, Harrison hit Pascoe for four and two. Next ball he got a lifter and Davis dived in to catch him at short leg. 77-2-27. At 80 Anderson let a ball from Bright come in with the arm and bowl him with the bat held aloft. BA O'Brien arrived with 34 minutes left to play. It was important that no more wickets were lost. In half an hour O'Brien did not score. Off his 29th ball, with the field crowded around him, he struck Bright for four to extra cover. Short, who had played so well, brought the 100 up in the last over. At close of play the total was 102-3, Short 40 and O'Brien 5.
This first day had been a good one for the Irish - the second was even better. Pascoe and Bryce began the bowling for Australia. Pascoe bowled fast and the wicket was now quicker for Bright's spin but his line was not always good. Short and O'Brien settled in. Pascoe bowled without a third man. O'Brien cut him three times for four and did the same to Dymock when the latter replaced Pascoe. With a four off Bright Short went to 52 scored out of 127 off 145 balls. Another four took him to 58 and he had beaten H Martin's 57 - the previous highest Irish score against Australia. Cosier replaced Bright for four overs. On Short and O'Brien went calmly and serenely. When 45 O'Brien was dropped by Serjeant at gully off Dymock - a fast traveling ball. Next ball O'Brien cut a four to take him to 51 of 115 balls with the total on 190. Next over from Dymock O'Brien mistimed a pull off a short ball and was caught by Bright at short leg. His 51 came off 119 balls in 137 minutes with seven fours. The partnership was worth 112 runs in 137 minutes. Short hit four in the last over before lunch to bring up 200 at which point Ireland declared 91 behind. Short's innings was a chanceless 80 not out off 227 balls in 236 minutes with eight fours. It was a very fine innings indeed and would be long remembered. Ireland batted for 72 overs and Pascoe emerged with 2-45 off 16 overs
Australia went into bat again and knocked up 96-5 in 97 minutes off 30.5 overs. At 13 Elder caught and bowled Davis (10) - a fast return waist high. Hughes came in at number three. He was aggressive, hitting four fours in his 20. He was then caught by Harrison at mid-off off Corlett. 48-2-20. At 40 Monteith had replaced Elder and, apart from changing ends, bowled to the close of the innings. With the score on 71 Hughes skied one off him to the wicket-keeper, and this was after he had replaced Corlett at the end from which he got six wickets in the first innings. 71-3-4. O'Riordan came on at the other end. Then came three dropped catches in four overs! At 76 Serjeant (one) was dropped by Harrison at short fine leg off O'Riordan; at 88 Serjeant (13) was missed by the substitute AV Smith (Pembroke) at mid-wicket-trying to take the ball over his shoulder running towards the boundary and at 90 Short missed McCosker at extra-cover off Monteith. At 95 GP O'Brien caught McCosker at slip to give O'Riordan some consolation and his 198th wicket for Ireland. McCosker had again batted carefully for 76 minutes for 47. Serjeant had meanwhile hit O'Riordan for six to midwicket. At 96 Pascoe gave Anderson a high catch to deep long on off Monteith and Australia declared at 96-5, Serjeant 14 not out. Monteith's 2-15 came in 8.5 overs.
Ireland set off after 188 runs in 86 minutes plus 20 overs. It was not really possible but they tried. Reith hit Pascoe's first ball for four and Short hit six in his second over. 20 came up in five overs but then Dymock bowled Reith with a lovely ball which pitched leg stump and hit off. Tea was wrongly taken at 3:40 PM. This was after 26 minutes play whereas the period ought to have been 50 minutes 21-1. At 22 Short was caught by Hookes (keeping wicket) when he flashed at Pascoe. Pascoe and Dymock were kept on with Pascoe bowling very fast. He often rapped Harrison with lifters. With the field close set both batsman progressed by fours or singles -indeed Harrison's first three scoring strokes were boundaries. Both tried hard to maintain a good scoring rate but could not quite lift it enough. Just before the 20 overs began Cosier came on and Pascoe changed ends. At 5 PM the score was 90, Harrison 28 and Anderson 33. 98 were now needed in 20 overs. The field was defensive. In 11 more overs 14 runs were scored and never more than a single at a time. At 103 Anderson was caught at the wicket for 37 off Dymock. He had batted well for 79 minutes and added 81 in that time with Harrison. With 27 minutes left and nine overs remaining the match was given up as a draw. Harrison was 37 not out. The performance of the Irish team was very good indeed - particularly on this second overcast cold day. Short (Ireland) and Serjeant (Australia) won Rothmans Man-of-the-Match Awards.