Scotland won this three day match and equalled the wins at 20 each since the first match in 1888. Scotland fielded their best team but Ireland were only able to put out what amounted to a second eleven in the batting department. Ireland had a good first innings of 259 but collapsed badly in the second innings. Then rain almost deprived Scotland of a deserved win. Dunlop scored a marvellous 150 in the first innings. From the bat in the two innings Ireland scored 349 runs. Take away Dunlop's 150 and there remains 199 runs from 21 innings. For Ireland Rutherford was not available and A. D. Patterson came in to keep wicket for the first time in 2000, his Sussex contract having been terminated. I. P. Shields, Ireland's Under 19 Captain in Sri Lanka in January, replaced Archer, and had his first outing in 2000 having played for the first time in the 1999 match -v- Scotland (3 days). White and Dominick Joyce cried off and were replaced by Haire and new cap Mark Gillespie, older brother of Peter. Cooke was left out, in favour of Neely, because he did not play in the mid-August Interprovincials.
For Scotland their Captain, George Salmond, was playing for a record 136th time and Greg Williamson gained his 100th cap.
The new ground at Ayr provided a hard pitch but bounce was a little inconsistent and a little green to start with. The day began cloudy but improved but there were two short rain breaks. Ireland won the toss and batted. Joyce and Shields opened to the bowling of the speedy Brinkley and left arm over fast medium Asif Butt. The start was steady until Shields clipped a full length ball from Butt to short leg. 17-1-7 in the eighth over. Haire, too high at number three, faced seven balls, all from Butt and without scoring and was LBW to the eighth. 17-2-0. Dunlop arrived in the 10th over and asserted himself from the start. He drove and cut five fours and was 23 when there was a nine minute rain break in over 15 (48 for two).
On resumption both players played quietly with nothing but singles for 10 overs. In over 25 (66 for two) there was another rain break of 13 minutes. Brinkley's 10 over spell cost only 16 runs. Lunch came at 1.20 p.m. (it was a seven hour day) at 72 for 2, Joyce 24 and Dunlop 35. Joyce had a life after lunch, at 76, when Maiden dropped him at Square leg off Williamson. Joyce did not profit from his escape. He hit a boundary off Butt but was LBW next ball. 90-3-29. The stand of 73 was dominated by Dunlop and occupied 25 overs. New cap Mark Gillespie was next and his baptism was a stand of 104 for the fourth wicket, in 31 overs, of which Gillespie made 34 in a careful manner. Dunlop went to 50, at 95, in the 36th over. 100 arrived in over 38.
Scotland rotated their bowlers using mostly the pace men, Brinkley, Butt and Williamson. Off spinner Tennant had a spell and in over 48 Dunlop took 16 off him including a six. Four overs later Dunlop hit Tennant for two fours and 150 was up after over 53 (Dunlop 88). Two overs later Dunlop took three fours off a Brinkley over to take him from 90 to 102 with the score at 161. It was Dunlop's fourth century for Ireland equalling RH Lambert, MA Masood, SJS Warke and DA Lewis, with only IJ Anderson's seven above them. Dunlop faced 141 balls with 14 fours and a six. Maiden, off spin, had a turn before tea coming on at 150 for the first time. Tea came at 4.20 p.m. after a sequence of four overs for only one run. The tea score (62 overs) was 182 for three, Dunlop 108, Gillespie 26. Confusion now seemed to reign over tactics. The word was "bat to the close of play". Then, after tea, this seemed to change to a declaration at 6.20 p.m. giving Scotland half an hour to bat. Gillespie, who had supported Dunlop splendidly (34 off 97 balls) was out in the fourth over after tea. Maiden had continued to bowl and had Gillespie taken at slip as he pushed forward. 194-4-34. Dunlop hit Butt for two fours but McCallan went LBW in Maiden's next over, 200 having come in the 67th over with Dunlop's two fours.
Patterson, playing his first match of 2000, joined Dunlop but it took another 18 overs to go from 200 to 250 - another indication of the off-the-field confusion over what the tactics were. Butt and Maiden bowled well and Patterson was not in prime form. Nevertheless the pair added 45 in 16 overs. Then came a drinks break with Dunlop on 149. This was his undoing. In the next over he got the single to take him to 150 when the score was 243 in over 82. In Tennant's next over (slow left arm) Dunlop had a wild slash and was caught at slip. Probably the drinks break brought the message of a declaration.
The 150 came in 283 minutes, 230 balls, a six and 20 fours. He had a few snicks for four but in general it was a chanceless innings of great power. 247-6-150. The previous highest score against Scotland was 149 by Hon. HGH Mulholland at Hamilton Crescent, Glasgow in 1911. Dunlop had made 148 -v- M.C.C. at Malahide in 1996. Only four scores of 150 or more have been made for Ireland. 157 by A.D. Comyn in 1896-v- I Zingari at Phoenix Park, Dublin; 167 by Sir T. C. O'Brien in 1902 -v- Oxford University at Oxford. This was in a fourth innings with Ireland chasing 429 and getting 366. The most recent instance is I. J. Anderson's 198 not out in 1973 -v- A Canadian XI at Toronto.
Five more overs were bowled before, at 6.20 p.m., the declaration came at 259 for eight. 10 runs were added. Mooney was run out, having called a run, by a direct throw from mid-off and Dwyer was bowled swinging at Brinkley. In all the innings lasted 87.5 overs, a rate of three runs per over. Butt took three for 63 in 22 overs. Brinkley was the least expensive, one for 40 in 19.5 overs. The spinners, Tennant and Maiden, bowled 28 overs for 95 runs.
Scotland had seven overs to bat to close of play. Mooney and McCallan bowled at one end, McCoubrey three overs at the other. It was the latter who got Lockhart who had not scored. It was a great diving catch low to Patterson's right hand. Closing score was 24 for one, Bruce Patterson 11 and Smith 10.
The second day (another seven hours) was warm and sunny. Scotland batted carefully for 96 overs before being all out at 5.20 p.m. for the same score as Ireland (259). They were 116 for five and did not wish to be behind on first innings. 150 to 250 took 43 overs. There was criticism of this but Scotland knew the Irish batting weakness and gambled on an Irish second innings collapse. They were right!
All went well for Ireland before lunch. 34 overs were bowled and Scotland were 124 for five, scoring exactly 100 in the 140 minute session. Neely and McCoubrey started with Mooney coming on 47 and Dwyer at 50 (in 16 overs). Dwyer's second over brought an LBW against Smith, back when he should have been forward. 56-2-24. At 62 Mooney hit Patterson a painful blow on the knee and had him caught at the wicket for 31 in the same over. McCallan came on to bowl in tandem with Dwyer while Parsons (left handed) and Salmond added 40 in 16 overs. 100 was up in over 35. Dwyer bowled 10 overs for 22 and McCallan replaced him. In the in-between over Gillespie came on to bowl his leg breaks (too late?). The third ball he bowled for Ireland saw Parsons play inside the line and was bowled off stump. 102-4-20. Williamson came in and chanced his arm but Gillespie had him LBW with a straight ball in his second over. The newcomer had two for eight in two overs. Three overs later came lunch (41 overs). 124 for 5 Salmond 22, Wright 3.
After lunch Gillespie continued and McCallan bowled with him. 150 was up in over 50. It took a change to get another wicket. Dwyer for McCallan saw Salmond (36) pushing forward to be caught at silly mid off at 159. Brinkley came in and did very well. He was 43 not out at the end. He added 32 with Wright, 25 with Maiden, 27 with Butt and 16 more with last man Tennant. All this took 41 overs and straddled the tea interval. Up to tea Ireland relied mainly on the three slow bowlers and took one wicket. This was at 191, in over 75, when McCallan bowled a quick straight ball which bowled Wright (40) who played no shot.
200 arrived in over 79 and tea was taken at 4.20 p.m. after 86 overs at 211 for seven, Brinkley 19 and Maiden four (off 29 balls). Tea accounted for Maiden. In the second over on resumption Dwyer bowled him around his legs. 216-8-7. Butt joined Brinkley and the pace increased a stand of 27 off 29 balls. Neely replaced McCallan who had bowled since 3.30 p.m. Neely it was who took the last two wickets, Butt and Tennant, both clean bowled. Brinkley was 43 not out off 132 balls and his four fours was only exceeded by Patterson's five and Brinkley was the highest scorer.
Ireland used seven bowlers. All took at least one wicket but it was surprising that Mooney only bowled six overs (albeit for 26 runs). Dwyer was the most successful with 3 for 39 in 24 overs. The three spinners bowled a total of 66 overs out of 96 and gave away only two runs per over. Gillespie, the newcomer, did very well with his leg breaks, two for 41 in 17 overs.
Seven and a half hours remained, probably not enough to conclude the match unless Ireland collapsed. There was 90 minutes play remaining on the second day. 25 overs were bowled and Ireland were a somewhat ominous 54 for 3 by close of play. The start was awful. Shields played a maiden from Butt. The Joyce pushed his fifth ball from Butt weakly to short mid wicket. Haire faced 13 scoreless balls before "bagging a pair". He was beaten by a slower ball from Brinkley which he played across and was bowled. This was four for 2 in six overs. Shields got most of the strike in a 29 run stand with Dunlop and was dropped at the wicket when 21 off Tennant. In the next over (Butt) Dunlop played a loose shot and was caught at the wicket. 33-3-10 in the 17th over. Shields and Gillespie played out the remaining eight overs and scored a further 21 runs. Before the end Brinkley was warned for dissent - some LBW's being turned down. The close was 54 for three, Gillespie 12, Shields 30.
The third day of six hours began sunny but clouds gathered in the afternoon and almost prevented a Scottish victory. The Irish innings went on for 44 more overs but only 67 more runs were scored. The batting was too defensive. It was simply a 'hold out for a draw' operation and it did not work, as the pitch was becoming difficult. For five overs from Butt and Brink1ey all went well. Then Shields after a sedate 31 off 102 balls, lost patience. He drove, head up, at Butt and lost his middle stump. 61-4-31. McCallan came in. At 69 he was dropped at first slip in Tennant's first over. In the next over Gillespie played no shot at Brinkley and was LBW. 73-5-22. McCallan and Patterson saw out the 13 overs up to the 12.30 p.m. lunch. In these 13 overs only 14 runs were scored as Ireland hung on grimly. McCallan was dropped again off Tennant - this time a gentle catch to Williamson at silly mid-off. 87 for five at lunch in 50 overs, McCallan 11, Patterson 5.
After lunch Scotland relied mostly on the slow bowlers Tennant and Maiden. They took four of the remaining five wickets in just over 19 overs. The eighth over after lunch accounted for McCallan - bowled by Maiden for 17 off 92 balls. 96-6-17. Mooney and Patterson brought up 100 in the 60th over. At 110 Mooney pushed Tennant low to short leg. Dwyer came in and was not out at the end, four runs from 22 balls. He lost Patterson (10 off 76 balls) who suddenly had a wild drive at Tennant and was caught at slip. Neely was LBW at 116 and McCoubrey bowled at 121 - both for nought.
Only eight fours were hit in the 69 overs innings, and 29 maidens were bowled. Three Scottish bowlers each took three wickets. Tennant was one of these and he bowled more overs (21) than he conceded runs (20). Scotland required 122 to win in 75 minutes plus 16 overs in the last hour from 4.00 p.m. This should have amounted to in excess of 35 overs but rain played a part. Thunder rolled around the ground all afternoon and Scotland were lucky that so little time was lost. Scotland sent in Williamson, who can score quickly, with Patterson. This move had admirable success. In 10 overs from McCoubrey and McCallan (who opened the bowling), Dwyer and Gillespie, 60 runs were scored despite only four fours being hit.
Tea was taken between innings. Then after 2.1 overs with the score on 13, more rain came. This lasted 32 minutes, play resuming at 3.29 p.m. 11 runs came in the fifth over (Dwyer) and 10 in McCallan's next - all mostly to Williamson. McCoubrey came back and he, too, conceded 10. So 31 off three overs and 50 without loss in seven overs. When the last hour (16 overs) began the score was 60.
Another 62 was required in these 16 overs. Only 14.2 overs were required! Scotland scoring rate slowed as there was now no need for slogging. Both openers eventually fell to Gillespie's leg spin. For the second time in the match he took wickets in successive overs. In the third over of the last 16 Williamson was bowled having an unnecessary big swing. 67-1-41. Next over Patterson was bowled when the ball screwed back on to the stumps. 70-2-24. There is no doubt that this pair won the match for Scotland by scoring 31 runs in overs five, six and seven. Smith and Parsons tried no heroics and put on 27 in six overs from Gillespie and McCallan. Dwyer came back for the 10th over of the 16. He dropped a hard return catch from Smith but had him caught at short extra cover from the last ball of the over. Joyce took a good overhead catch at the second attempt. 97-3-7.
Six overs were left to get 25. Salmond came, 100 came up, and then Salmond was out to the first ball he actually faced - LBW to Dwyer and an unusually early dismissal for Salmond against Ireland. Parsons and Wright knocked off the remaining 21 runs in three overs. McCallan had eight off one over. The match ended when Wright hit Gillespie for a huge six.
The Quaich, presented by the Irish Past Presidents for the 1988 centenary match, was handed over to Scotland for only the second time, the first being in that first year of presentation at Dumfries.
Within two months of the season ending Angus Dunlop retired from International cricket for business reasons. He will be hard to replace and this was a blow for Selectors with ICC Trophy in Toronto due in July, 2001. Since 1990 Dunlop played 114 matches and scored 3164 runs @ 29.29 with four centuries and 16 fifties. His aggregate stands fourth on the list. He was captain 40 times.