The same Irish team was picked for two matches with the one exception that JK Hopkins was picked for the Dublin game in place of OD Colhoun. Also A Finlay was added to the team for the Dublin fixture to make a squad of 12. The actual team as selected for the Belfast match actually played.

1st match at Ormeau, Belfast


Pitch inspectionCaptains Alec O'Riordan (left) and Richie Benaud wait for groundsman Bob Collins to remove the covers before the match between Ireland and Australia at Ormeau in 1961.
Not since 1938 had the Australians been in Ireland and it was a great pity that rain and a gale should have interfered with the first match in Belfast. Rain and wet ground prevented play on either day until 1:30 PM and on the second day the gale blew to such an extent that any championship match would have been stopped. Bowlers were blown off their stride, batsmen knocked away from their stance and catching a high ball virtually impossible. Many slates were ripped off nearby houses. The Australians, led by Benaud, sportingly played on to entertain the crowd which was satisfactory in view of the conditions. Benaud's only surrender to the conditions was when he did not declare at tea on the second day. By then Australians led by 172 with 130 minutes left but Benaud cannot be blamed for refusing to send his men out to field. This Australian team skilfully led by the popular Benaud had won the Test series by two matches to one. The batting was probably better than England's but it did seem that only Davidson and Benaud were Test match bowlers and Benaud had arm trouble for two months. Their willingness to attack at all times however had its just reward.

The Australian XI in Belfast was almost at full strength but although Colin McDonald played he was not really fit and batted at number 11. He is an opening bat but had wrist trouble for several months. Everybody else had played in the Test series except Kline, a left arm googly bowler and Jarman the reserve wicket-keeper. For Ireland Warke and Duffy, unavailable against MCC, returned instead of Corry and Finlay.

It was cold and bleak when Simpson and Grout opened for the Australians. Simpson hit O'Riordan for two fours in the first over and 26 were scored on 20 minutes when Simpson drove a return catch to the Irish captain. In his next over O'Riordan got one to lift at the left-handed Harvey and came off the shoulder of the bat and up in the air to the wicket-keeper. 30-2. The fast bowlers conceded 53 runs in 15 overs but when Huey came on he bowled Grout in his second over. 58-3. The first hour had produced about 60 but now with O'Neill and Benaud together the rate increased. They started quietly but O'Neill soon got into his stride and was very severe on Huey and Lyness. He was missed by Martin at slip when four which was just as well for the spectators who saw him driving and pulling with great power to reach 50 in 57 minutes. Then he hit both Lyness and Huey out of the attack. 12 were taken off Lyness's last over including a pull for six off and no-ball by O'Neill and Huey's last over yielded 15 with one straight driven six clean out of the ground. O'Riordan came back and should have had O'Neill at 83 caught when he skied one to Warke at leg slip. Meanwhile, Duffy had come on and after bowling a maiden had O'Neill caught off a mishit to cover. His 85 came in 80 minutes with two sixes and six fours. At this stage three wickets fell while two runs were added. O'Neill had been out at 143 and O'Riordan had Davidson caught at the wicket at 144 while Gaunt returned a catch to Duffy at 145.

Mackenzie (whose last wicket stand of 98 had done so much to win the Manchester Test) added 19 with Benaud before the latter hit his wicket to give Duffy his third wicket. Benaud had made 39 in 80 minutes. At 168 Huey caught Jarman off Duffy for 0 and before tea Hunter missed Mackenzie also off Duffy. At tea the score was 176-8. Kline, who made 26, was missed by Bernstein off Duffy, but the Leinster bowler eventually had Mackenzie magnificently caught by Hunter on the boundary behind the bowler. Hunter got to the ball, knocked it up and caught it again. 193-9-19. McDonald batted gingerly but saw 200 up when Kline hit O'Riordan for the fourth six of the innings. At 209 Kline was stumped off Duffy giving the latter the splendid figures of 6-29 in 13.2 overs.

At 5:10 PM Bergin and Martin began for Ireland against Mackenzie and Gaunt. Within minutes both were out. Bergin was caught by Jarman at the wicket off Mackenzie and Gaunt bowled Martin for 0. 2-2. Warke and Stevenson then added 50 in 45 minutes. Kline and Davidson came on but Stevenson hit Kline for three fours and then pulled a six before mistiming and giving Macdonald a catch at deep mid-off. Next over Warke was caught at long on by Harvey also off Kline. This was the first of four wickets that fell while the score remained at 64. Davidson had Duffy caught by Harvey at slip; Kline had Hunter caught by Benaud at slip and two balls later the same act was repeated with Bernstein as victim. So 64 for three became 64 for seven. Just on time Lyness pulled Kline to mid-wicket where Davidson made a catch to leave the close of play score 72-8, O'Riordan four not out. Kline had had a spell of 5-9.

The second day's play began at 1:30 PM. A lot of time was lost when water spilled from the plastic covers onto the wicket while the covers were being removed. O'Riordan and Colhoun resumed in bright sunshine and a gale! 38 were required to save the follow-on and one felt the Australians did not wish to prolong their spell in the field by trying to be in a position to enforce the follow on. Grout bowled from one end and the Irish pair had little difficulty in making the necessary 38 and adding four more for good measure. These runs came in just under an hour with O'Riordan doing almost all the scoring. Benaud came on and had Colhoun caught in his first over for an invaluable seven. Huey smote Benaud for three fours but O'Riordan trying a big hit off Davidson spooned the ball and was caught for a splendid 38.

The Australians led by 83 and had about 75 minutes batting before tea. 8 came off O'Riordan's first over but Bernstein bowled Grout with his fifth ball. 12-1. Harvey again disappointed and was out for a single, caught by Bergin at cover off Bernstein off a mistimed drive. 24-2. Meanwhile Simpson was scoring rapidly and he and O'Neill raised 60 after 44 minutes. Then Huey had O'Neill stumped in his second over. Benaud was bowled by Hunter at 72 and Simpson, after making 44 in 65 minutes skied Huey and was caught by Stevenson. At tea the score was 89-5 with Davidson and Kline together. A declaration was expected giving Ireland 173 to make in 130 minutes. But Benaud decided against fielding in the gale and instead Davidson and Kline indulged in some hurricane (!) hitting. Davidson slogged at everything that Hunter and Huey bowled and in 17 minutes 50 were added. Davidson hit three glorious sixes and Kline one. Several balls went high in the air but the gale made this type of catch almost impossible. Having reached 50 in 26 minutes Davidson gave himself up to the first ball Lyness bowled. 141-6-50. When Kline was out, caught off Bernstein at 155, Benaud declared at 155 for seven off only 32 overs!

90 minutes remained and in this time the Australians bowled 40 overs, only 11 of them by recognised bowlers and Benaud kept wicket. Still Ireland lost 6 for 155, but they entered the spirit of the thing by rapid scoring. Martin hit Simpson's first ball for three and Bergin was bowled by the third ball for 0 and Harvey bowled Warke in the next over. 6-2 Martin, playing very well, and Stevenson put on 25 before the latter was held at slip off Simpson. Duffy came next. He had hurt his back bowling in the first innings and could not bowl again or bat properly. He was bowled by Jarman at 43. Hunter and Martin added 52, Hunter hitting a six and three fours. His 27 occupied only 17 minutes. O'Riordan and Martin put on 31 in 20 minutes, Martin reaching 50 in 70 minutes with a six off Jarman. After making 57 in 80 minutes he was bowled by, of all people, McDonald! O'Riordan and Bernstein saw time out.

2nd match at College Park, Dublin


As compared with the match in Belfast, there had been the initial one change in Hopkins coming in for Colhoun. However SSJ Huey was unavailable for the Dublin game and GA Duffy was injured. These latter two were replaced by A McQuilken and A Finlay.

Only 12 of the 17 Australians travelled to Dublin. Harvey, O'Neill, Jarman, Mackay, and McDonald did not come. It was disappointing that neither O'Neill nor Harvey played in Dublin. Into the team came Lawry (the young left-handed opening bat who had a wonderful first tour), Booth, Burge (who scored 181 in the fifth test), Quick (slow left-arm) and Misson (fast bowler). Mackenzie acted as 12th man. For Ireland JK Hopkins took over as wicket-keeper and A McQuilken and A Finlay replaced Duffy (injury) and Huey (not available). The weather was splendid and large crowds attended both days. The wicket looked good but broke and became somewhat erratic in bounce when the fast bowlers were on. The Australians batted beautifully in both innings. They took chances and scored very quickly - in all they hit 17 sixes!

Winning the toss the Australians batted only three hours in making 291 - almost 100 per hour. Things began well for Ireland and both Lawry and Simpson had been dismissed by O'Riordan after half an hour for 34 runs. O'Riordan took these wickets in six overs for only 11 runs. Davidson and Booth livened things up. Hunter came on for Bernstein but lasted only two overs - Davidson hitting him for two sixes and a four off successive balls. The pair added 62 in only 35 minutes. Then Hunter returning to bowl had Davidson caught by Warke on the boundary in attempting a big hit to reach his 50. 96-3-46. Burge came in and he and Booth put on 99 runs in 44 minutes. Booth, a slim figure, stroked the ball to every corner of the field. He hit Hunter for six and went to his 50 by hitting Lyness into the rugby pitch - a towering blow. The score went from 100 to 150 in 16 minutes. Five minutes before lunch Booth tried to drive O'Riordan and was caught by McQuilken at mid-on. 195-4-79. Booth's 79 came in 80 minutes with two sixes and 11 fours. At lunch, after two hours, the score was 198-4.

McQuilken, the Muckamore leg spinner playing his first game for Ireland, came on to bowl immediately after lunch. His first over cost 22 runs - Grout hitting two sixes and two fours. Grout hit a six and a two off the first two balls of the next over and was then caught by Martin at long-on. He made 33 in 16 minutes. 237-5. With O'Riordan doing his best to keep runs down at one end McQuilken plugged away at the other - buying wickets. Magnificent catches by Warke at deep extra cover and deep mid-wicket accounted for Benaud and Quick. Misson was caught at cover off O'Riordan and Burge was ninth out at 283. He was caught at the wicket off O'Riordan for 60 with one six and seven fours. McQuilken took the last wicket at 3:10 PM when Kline was caught at cover. The hour since lunch had brought 93 runs. McQuilken, in 10.5 overs, took 4-63 and despite punishment kept the ball well up. For the first time O'Riordan took five wickets in an innings - for 85 runs in 26 overs.

McQuilken opened with Bergin (perhaps a mistake) and the usual dreadful start was made. Gaunt and Misson, bowled very quick, and had three wickets down for nine. Gaunt had McQuilken caught by Benaud at slip in the first over and he bowled Martin for 0 in his second and bowled Stevenson in his third. He was "rested" after four overs. Quick and Kline came on and two wickets fell at 29. Just after tea Bergin was brilliantly caught and bowled by Quick having made 21 out of 29. At the same score Warke slashed at Kline and was caught at mid-off. At 35 Hunter was caught at cover at 44 Finlay was caught at slip. On came the non-bowlers - Lawry, Burge and Booth. In fact they got a wicket each but not before O'Riordan and Hopkins added 23 for the eighth wicket. Misson broke down in his fifth over at the start of the innings.

With 50 minutes left in the Australians sportingly decided to bat again. They made 50-1 by close of play. At 31 Lawry tried to hook Bernstein and was caught at cover off the top of the bat, but Simpson, 31, and Davidson, three, played out time.

On the second day, in a fantastic display of hitting, the Australians added 183 in only 75 minutes. They played all the shots, delicately executed late cuts and glances, sweetly struck cover drives, pulls, large hits over the bowler's head - all with perfect timing and controlled power. Davidson, Booth and Burge were the heroes of this attack. Simpson was bowled by Bernstein's fifth ball of the morning. 53-2-33. Davidson and Burge now added 103 in 55 minutes. They had raced to 50 each hitting a six on the way. Davidson won the race and then hit a wonderful straight six off the second ball sent down by Lyness. It hit the pavilion roof just above the clock. Next ball he was stumped. His 59 came in 75 minutes off 76 balls. Meanwhile Booth had reached 50 in 48 minutes. He reached 67 off only 40 balls (!) in 57 minutes and was caught by Stevenson on the long-on boundary in Lyness's next over. He too had hit a six off the previous ball. He hit three sixes and eight fours in all. 179-4-67. The next partnership between Burge and Grout added 39 runs in six, yes six, minutes. Grout made 10, including a six. In five more minutes Quick and Burge added 25 runs - so in all the last 54 runs came in about 12 minutes. Lyness and McQuilken were the sufferers - Burge hitting two sixes off each and making 38 not out in 30 minutes. 233-6 declared in 135 minutes was the final tally and Ireland bowled only 38.5 overs - over six runs an over.

Ireland went in at 1:05 PM facing a deficit of 448! Gaunt and Benaud (bowling seamers) opened the bowling. With the first ball of his third over Gaunt had Bergin caught at backward short leg for four with the total on eight. The first ball of his next over bowled Martin. After lunch Benaud had Stevenson LBW at 25 and Simpson bowled Warke at 38. The non-bowlers now had another go with Simpson and later Davidson (bowling spinners) keeping the pavilion end going. At 53 McQuilken, who had made to 21 in 65 minutes, was bowled by Simpson. Hunter and O'Riordan now made use of some tempting stuff from Grout (Burge kept wicket after lunch), Booth and Lawry. Good fielding made fast scoring difficult but 100 went up in 106 minutes. O'Riordan pulled Lawry for 6 to mid-wicket. Hunter made 14 singles in his first 24 runs, but when Kline came on he went from 34 to 50 in four balls. Off the last ball of the over he tried another big hit and was caught by the wicket-keeper. Hunter was in for 57 minutes and hit a six and five fours. He put on 81 with O'Riordan. In Kline's second over Finlay hit 10 but was stumped off the first ball of the third over. Hopkins was LBW to Davidson at 153 and Benaud had a brilliant catch at slip given by Bernstein off Kline. Around about this time Grout got the news that his 33 to 1 winner had come in. He had put five pounds on it and, in his excitement, dropped a catch. At 166 Davidson ran out Lyness and gave Benaud time for nine holes of golf! O'Riordan was left 38 not out scored in 75 minutes. This gave an average of 53.5 to O'Riordan against the Australians.

Socially the Dublin stay was fine. There were receptions by the Australian charge d'affaires, TG McVeigh and Messrs Guinness and a visit to the Aga Khan's Stud at the Curragh. After the match Benaud presented his blazer to Alec O'Riordan. The Australians took 565 from the tour.

After the match Warke announced his retirement from Representative Matches. Between 1950 and 1961 Warke played 34 matches. Despite two centuries he only averaged 14.29 for his 786 runs. He was captain 18 times. JK Hopkins replaced Colhoun as wicket-keeper after Colhoun had won 11 successive caps. It was to be the only break in Colhoun's career. He returned and continued until 1979 playing 76 successive matches.