Ireland had been in Zimbabwe three times before this first return visit by a Country who had become a Test playing nation in 1992. They came to play two Tests in England. Badly beaten at Lord's they redeemed themselves with what might have been a win at Trent Bridge in a curtailed drawn match.
Ireland had Mark Waugh to play as a guest. The great Australian batsman had come to Ireland as part of an ICC development plan, following Cronje, brother Steve and Rhodes. To this point in his career Waugh had played 103 Tests, scored 6593 runs @ 41.72 with 17 x 100. His First-class average in 310 matches is 52.80 with 73 x 100.
JAM Molins, JO Davy, AGAM McCoubrey and EC Joyce were not available due to work and examinations. Ireland selected 13 keeping all the others who had played -v- M.C.C. in May other than Archer and Brophy. Then Archer got back into the panel when Haire cried off due to studies. Bushe returned to keep wicket and Neil Doak completed the panel. The latter had not been available since the Kuala Lumpur Tournament in 1997 due to injury and rugby commitments. For the first match -v- Zimbabwe Doak was not available, Heasley was 12th man, and Cooke was winning his 50th cap.
Zimbabwe had flown in two new players just before the Irish matches. They were C. Wishart (bat) and P. Strang (leg spinner). Captain, Andy Flower, did not play as Streak took over this role. Campbell and Goodwin shared the wicket- keeping duty. Brent and Olonga had gone home and left out, as well as A. Flower, were Carlisle, Nkala and Whittall. Seven of this team played in the recent Test. The day was cold and overcast but fortunately the rain kept off. Attendance, despite Mark Waugh for Ireland, was very poor.
Zimbabwe won the toss and decided to bat on the usual slow, low Castle Avenue pitch - but there had been a lot of rain in recent times. Johnson, who had played for Ireland in 1998, and Wishart opened. The first Butler over yielded five wides and a no ball. Mooney's first over accounted for Johnson who was bowled playing no stroke. 8-1-0. Goodwin, who had scored a century -v- England at Trent Bridge three days ago, joined Wishart. The ball seamed around a lot and Goodwin, in particular, was often beaten. He made only 13 of a 51 stand when Cooke, replacing Butler, clipped his off stump - again no shot was played. The score was now 59 of which 19 were wides of which Butler had bowled 11 in four overs and Cooke three. 50 had come up in the 11th over.
The out of form Campbell joined Wishart. Cooke, Dwyer and McCallan now shared the bowling and the run rate slowed. At one point, at 67, four maidens in a row were bowled. Dwyer bowled five overs for nine then Campbell hit him for three fours in one over. The score was 86 for two at the half way mark. The third wicket fell in the next over, Dwyer's seventh. Wishart spooned the ball to Waugh at extra cover off the back foot. 88-3-35. G. Flower joined Campbell and his first scoring shot was a six off McCallan.
100 came in over 29. Dwyer completed his 10 overs for 28. McCallan went off after five overs. Butler came on and Waugh was given a bowl. 10 overs between them cost 62 runs. 150 was up in over 37. Both batsmen went to 50 in the same over, the 43rd, and Mooney's first since his opening spell. McCallan came on for the next over and had Campbell clipping a catch to Waugh at mid-on. 185-4-52 (in 82 balls). Viljoen joined Flower and made a very quick 40 out of 42 put on in the last seven overs of the Zimbabwe innings. He faced 25 balls while Flower faced 73 for his unbeaten 64.
Only Dwyer bowled 10 overs and he was the least expensive. Butler gave away 56 runs in nine overs which contained 13 wides and two no balls.
After lunch Archer and Davy faced the medium pace of Johnson and B. Strang (left arm). In the fifth over Davy nibbled at Johnson and was caught by the wicket-keeper. With Gillespie in scoring was slow. Archer made 13 in 58 balls before playing on to Streak, easily Zimbabwe's best bowler, but he only bowled five overs. Gillespie made 23 off 58 balls. He hit Mbangwa for a straight six and was gently caught at mid-off in P Strang's second over of leg break. This was the 25th over and Dunlop came in to join Waugh, with the score at 67. The pace increased only slightly and Waugh was rusty not having played for some time. Dunlop hit Viljoen (slow left arm) for a six.
100 came up in over 32 and Zimbabwe changed wicket-keeper (Campbell for Goodwin). The pace was not good enough to get to 228 as, by now, 126 were needed in 18 overs. G. Flower (Slow left arm) had come on. He bowled Waugh in his fourth over. 131-4-38 (55 balls). At 136 McCallan holed out to long off. Dunlop received only eight balls in five overs and got out at 146. He delivered Viljoen very accurately into deep square leg's hands. He had made 35 off 67 balls.
Cooke had a wild heave at Viljoen but Mooney played well for his undefeated 25 off 29 balls. Zimbabwe used seven bowlers. Only Viljoen bowled 10 for 51 runs and three wickets. Four others took one wicket each.