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Ireland v Australia 2001
This Australian team was one of the greatest. When this match was played Australia had retained the Ashes by three matches to nil. Unfortunately rain allowed only 23.4 overs to be bowled and play ceased at 12.40 p.m. Watching was the biggest crowd ever to watch Ireland play a home match. There were 4,000 people present and some £25,000 taken on the gate. A stand, to hold 1000 people, was supplied by Belfast City Council. The Northern Bank sponsored the match for £10,000. The match was an all ticket affair with no money taken on the gate. In view of the weather on the day this was a brilliant idea and move by the Irish Cricket Union - and another "first".
Australia played the same eleven in the first three winning Tests. Of that eleven seven played in this match. They were Hayden, Mark Waugh, Ponting, Martyn, Warne, Lee and McGrath. The Captain, Steve Waugh was injured and did not come to Ireland nor did he play in the fourth Test. His Vice Captain Gilchrist was also not in Ireland so Ponting captained the team probably because he had two great aunts in Belfast. Hayden and Mark Waugh played in the 1993 match in Dublin while Mark Waugh Langer, Ponting and McGrath played at Eglinton in 1997. Ireland had no survivor from 1993 but three played in the 1997 match, McCallan, who made 64*, Heasley and Andy Patterson.
The Irish selectors decided to stick with the players who had been in Toronto at the ICC Trophy. Joyce had now gone to play for Middlesex, Curry and Eagleson were not selected and Mark Patterson was not available. Matt Dwyer announced that this would be his 51st and last International. Capped in 1998 at 39 years of age his slow left arm bowling brought him 62 wickets at 25.87 each. His runs were two less than his wickets! As four were missing from the 14 who went to Toronto Conor Armstrong was called in to complete the Irish team.
Ireland sent Australia in to please the vast crowd at what will be the last International to be staged at Omeau. (It has been sold). The two left handers, Langer and Hayden, faced Mooney and McCoubrey. The start was quite sedate on what turned out to be a slow pitch making timing difficult. McCoubrey's second over was a maiden. In fact he bowled seven very good overs for only 15 runs, 12 of then singles, and three wides. Mooney also bowled seven overs but he gave up 35 runs, including six fours, five of which were hit by Hayden.
The score was 51 after these 14 overs. Heasley and Armstrong came on and the only wicket of the day fell in Armstong's second over. Langer played a poor cut shot at a short ball and was caught at cover point by Dom Joyce. Katich, who had played for Durham in 2000 and was to take Steve Waugh's place in the fourth Test, replaced Langer.
Hayden went on to 50 out of 79 off 67 balls in over 21. Rain started in over 22 and the players had to come off after 23.4 overs - never to return.