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Match Report
Derek Scott

South Africa followed Zimbabwe into England to play a limited overs Series -v- England and Zimbabwe and five Test Matches.

South Africa had just arrived and this match was their first of the Tour. Their new captain was the youthful G Smith who had replaced the recently deposed SM Pollock. The latter was on the tour. Only he, Boucher and Ntini played in the 1998 matches in Ireland. None of the South African Academy team, who toured Ireland in 1999, were on this tour. Ireland's survivors from 1998 were McCallan, PG Gillespie and Molins. PJK Mooney had played against the Academy team. Ireland played an unchanged team for a third successive match.

For this match South Africa left out their leading batsman, Kallis, and leading bowlers, Hall and Boje. Rudolph (bat) and Dawson (medium pace bowler) had made their Test debuts in April -v- Bangladesh in Chittagong - Rudolph with great success. He scored 222 and was the fifth to score a double century on Test debut. His score was the second highest on debut after RS Foster's 287 for England -v- Australia in 1903-'04. Van Jaarsveldt and Langeveldt had not played Test cricket. They and Dawson were in the limited overs squad and would go home before the Test matches.

The day at Castle Avenue began overcast and windy with rain in the offing but the day improved as it went on. The pitch was hard with a touch of green. It was slow but quicker than usual. Ireland held the scoring rate in check for nine overs (30) but the rate was upped and in the end Ireland did well to hold the visitors to under 300 - just about.

The new left handed captain, Smith, opened with the experienced Gibbs to the bowling of Mooney and Neely. Smith played a maiden from Mooney as did Gibbs to Neely. Gibbs appeared to give a wicket-keeping chance off his first ball. Smith took 10 off Neely's fourth over and there were 11 off his fifth and last of this spell. Then Gibbs hit four fours in two overs - his second off Mooney bringing 51 in over 11.

Botha replaced Neely, bowled a maiden, and took a wicket in his second over (14th). Gibbs tried to pull a ball not short enough and skied to Mooney at mid-off. 65-1-33. Dippenaar joined his captain in a stand that went one run better than that for the first wicket. It only occupied 11 overs. Seven of these were bowled by Botha and Armstrong. They were not very accurate and five fours were hit, the fourth of which by Smith, an off drive, brought up 103 in over 21.

McCallan and White, both off spinners, came on and bowled 15 overs together. Smith went to 53 out of 116 in McCallan's first over and got out in White's second (25th). Smith on drove in the air to the boundary but straight to Armstrong. 131-2-61. Smith hit nine fours and faced 77 balls. The left handed Rudolph came in. He hit two early fours but the slow bowlers reduced the scoring rate. 150 came in over 30 and Dippenaar went to his 50 at 177 in over 35. After 15 overs of spin (70 runs) Mooney and Armstrong came back on. 200 arrived in Armstrong's first over (38th). Mooney gave up 16 runs in his third over including a six to Rudolph over long on which took him to 50 at 230 in the 41st over.

Then, in over 42, came another wicket after a 103 run stand in just over 16 overs. Dippenaar got a faint nick to O'Brien off Armstrong. 234-3-76. Dippenaar faced 87 balls with eight fours. Van Jaarsveld came in but lost Rudolph three overs later. Botha had replaced Mooney and, in his second over of this spell, got Rudolph out - caught by Bray to his right at short mid-on. Rudolph's 54 in 61 balls was the third half century of the innings. 249-4-54. Boucher came in and brought up 250 in this same over.

Two overs later Boucher was run out. Van Jaarsveld hit Botha to deep point and a second run was attempted. Mooney's fast accurate throw to the bowler brought Boucher's end. 268-5-6. Three more wickets fell in the last three overs - all to Mooney, who replaced Armstrong, but at a cost of 26 more runs. Van Jaarsveld hoisted the fifth ball of the 48th over very high to cover and Joyce caught it. 271-6-23. Dawson joined Pollock and 13 were scored in the 49th over (Botha) including a six by Pollock to wide mid-wicket. Neely bowled the last over. He took wickets with successive balls, the fourth and fifth of the over. Pollock was first to go caught at wide long on 293-7-16. The batsmen crossed so Dawson now faced and was caught at extra-cover on the drive. 293-8-5. Adams took a single off the last ball to leave the final total 294 for eight.

The Irish fielding did not maintain the standard of the Zimbabwe matches in the previous week. Six bowlers were tried and four took wickets. Neely's three for 40 in seven overs came at a rate of six runs per over. Botha gave up seven per over. White was the least expensive at just under five runs per over in his seven overs. Only Armstrong bowled 10 overs - for 54 runs. Ireland would not have been optimistic about getting 295 against bowlers such as Pollock, Ntini and Adams. However they did well to be 89 for two in the 21st over. 12 overs later they were 130 for eight!

Molins and Bray opened for Ireland to the bowling of Pollock and Lawson. There were two maidens by Dawson in the first five overs by which time the score was 10 chiefly due to an off drive for four by Molins. In the sixth over Molins got two more fours, one to square leg and, next ball, a lucky snick past second slip. Bray square cut two fours in Pollock's fifth over, and 45 was up after nine overs.

Langeveldt replaced Dawson and Molins snicked his second ball to second slip. 45-1-27. Botha came and soon smashed Langeveldt to the extra cover boundary. Ntini replaced Pollock for the 12th over. His first ball accounted for Bray who chased a lifter and was caught by wicket-keeper Boucher diving to his left. 53-2-11. Bray faced 26 balls out of 73 and scored off only five of them.

O'Brien joined Botha and there were now three slips to the two Irish left handers. Scoring was brisk, 36 coming in the stand in 55 balls. O'Brien got 23 of these including four fours, a hook, two to extra cover and a clip to mid-wicket. Then the wickets began to fall, Ntini bowled Botha playing forward in the 21st over. 89-3-16. Three overs later Gillespie snicked to second slip giving Ntini his third wicket. 94-4-1.

McCallan joined O'Brien and there was a double bowling change. Adams for Ntini and Dawson for Langeveldt. A snick for four by O'Brien off Dawson brought up 100 in over 24. By the time the score reached 114 three more wickets were down. The rot began in the 26th over (Dawson). McCallan met the same fate as Gillespie earlier and was caught by the same fielder, Van Jaarsveldt, in the same place - second slip. 108-5-5. Worse followed in the next over when O'Brien was run out. He hit Adams to deep extra cover and ran a single. He then took on Ntini's throwing power and lost, 109-6-31. O'Brien's 31 off 45 balls proved to be the top score of the innings and he also hit the most fours (he struck five of them).

White joined Joyce but the latter was the next to go. He was lbw to one of Adams's "Chinamen" which was well up to him but beat his bat. 114-7-0.

With White and Mooney in the South African captain gave himself a bowl with quickish off spin - coming on for Dawson. 16 runs were put on off 23 balls. Then Mooney slashed Adams to fly slip. 130-8-8. Finally, in over 38, Van Jaarsveldt got the last two wickets with successive balls, both lbw. White tried to sweep a straight ball and missed. Next ball Neely was also lbw. White got his 29 runs off 30 balls.

South Africa used seven bowlers. Dawson bowled eight overs for 25 while Pollock's seven overs cost 39 and he went wicketless. Ntini took three for 21 in six overs. That, allied to his wonderful throw which ran out O'Brien, won him the Man-of-the-Match Award which was a lawnmower supplied by match Sponsors Viking, Their agents in South Africa would provide a machine on Ntini's return home.

Castle Avenue, Clontarf