The first New Zealand visit for 25 years. They had not lost a home Test Series for 10 years and in March had beaten Australia at Wellington. All 16 players and four officials came to Ireland because British Midlands Airways sponsored their fares. The cash sponsors were Gilbey's Ulster Games. 15 of the tourists played in the two Irish matches. JG Bracewell, off-spinner, did not play due to a broken finger in spite of the fact that this was only the visitor's third days cricket of the tour. JG Wright was captain and has scored three centuries in five Winter Tests.
MD Crowe had played for MCC against Ireland at Lords in 1989. He has 11 test centuries in 48 matches to Wright's 10. MJ Greatbatch scored a century on his Test debut against England in 1987-88. In late 1989 he saved the test against Australia at Perth by batting for 11 hours (146*). His current test average in 11 matches is 61.69. RJ Hadlee had broken all test bowling records with 415 wickets at an average of 22.23 in his 83 tests. He was retiring from test cricket after this tour, aged 39. Three of the 16 had not played test cricket, Millmow, Priest and Parore.
For Ireland Masood had retired; Halliday was left out as he was not available for the Nat West match; Jeffrey and Nelson were injured; Garth had played no cricket. When Nelson cried off PM. O'Reilly was recalled for the first time since 1984 and P McCrum was recalled after playing two matches in 1989. The selectors, for the first time, decided to play an unqualified player in a lead up to doing so in the Nat West match. R Lamba, who played four recent tests for India, was chosen, he being a professional with Cliftonville C C. A fee of pounds 100 per match was paid. BBC television covered the afternoon session live in Northern Ireland.
New Zealand at all times played seriously. They won the toss and sent Ireland in on a slow pitch with erratic bounce. Cohen and Lamba faced Hadlee (not bowling at full pace) and Millmow. All went well for a while. Hadlee bowled five overs and came off. Then Cohen (8) cut Millmow to Hadlee at point. 25-1. Nulty did not shape well as his faulty technique was shown up. At 30 he skied Millmow to 3rd man. The stand of the innings then ensued between Lamba and Warke. It lasted 26 overs and bridged the lunch interval. Snedden, Thompson and Priest (slow left-arm) were all tried and the New Zealand catching was at fault. Lamba was dropped with the score on 71 when he was 40 but lunch came after 35 overs with the total on 91-2, Lambert 51, Warke 17.
Lamba's half century on debut was the first for Ireland since MA Masood against MCC at Eglinton in 1982. Lamba's 50 came in 129 minutes with 4 fours. His running between the wickets was a lesson to other Irish batsmen. The last 20 overs produced only 60 runs and seven overs fell. Hadlee returned and at 99 had Lamba waving at a high wide ball to be caught at the wicket. Three balls later Warke met a similar fate but off a better ball. Hadlee came off still with two overs to bowl. Harrison and Lewis added 20. Then Harrison was LBW to Millmow and Snedden, coming on for a new spell, bowled Lewis for 19. Patterson was run out. Hadlee, with his last ball, bowled Jackson and Snedden did likewise to Thompson.
Franklin and Wright started for New Zealand at 3:25 PM. McCrum and O'Reilly bowled - in stark contrast. McCrum bowled his first six overs for 13. O'Reilly came off after four overs for 22 with three no-balls and a wide. Thompson replaced him. 50 was up in the 13th over and there was a 10 minute rain stoppage after an hour. At 71, in the 20th over, Franklin drove Thompson and O'Reilly took a good diving catch at mid-off. MD Crowe now came in. Lamba came on with the total on 79 and in the last over before tea ran out Wright who failed to beat Lamba's swift follow-up. Wright scored 49 in 82 deliveries. Tea was now taken with the total on 89-2, Crowe 8.
Crowe increased the pace after tea at the expense of Harrison. The latter bowled his first seven overs for 14. Then Crowe hit him for three sixes. Crowe got 40 out of 61 added in 39 minutes with Rutherford. Then McCrum, returning, had him caught at the wicket for 48, scored in an hour. In the same over New Zealand won the match with 18 overs to spare. That evening, at Hillsborough Castle the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Peter Brooke, entertained both teams to a meal. A British Midlands Man-of-the-Match award for Ireland only (two tickets to London) was won by SJS Warke when R Lamba was shamefully excluded.