June 18, 2003

South Africa dust off the cobwebs in Dublin

Rudolph Button in Dublin

South Africa 294 for 8 (Dippenaar 76, Smith 61, Rudolph 54, Neely 3-40) beat Ireland 162 (Ntini 3-21) by 132 runs

Graeme Smith on his way to a half-century in the tour opener

In the tranquil setting of Castle Avenue, Dublin, South Africa got their tour underway with an uncomplicated workout against an Irish side who inflicted a ten-wicket mauling on Zimbabwe last week. South Africa batted first and rattled to 294 for 8 with half-centuries from Graeme Smith (61), Boeta Dippenaar (76), and Jacques Rudolph (54), before the pace of Makhaya Ntini and the wiles of Paul Adams dismissed Ireland for 162.

Smith won the toss and chose to give his batsmen a chance to dust off the cobwebs, and with the exception of Mark Boucher who was run out for 6, they all took the opportunity. Herschelle Gibbs cracked a quickfire 33 in a first-wicket stand of 57 with Smith, and then Smith and Dippenaar added another 76 for the second wicket at a run a ball. The main partnership was between Dippenaar and Rudolph, who put on 103 for the third wicket.

The South Africans lost wickets in the closing overs after being 249 for 3 at one point, but even though Ireland beat Zimbabwe last week, they never looked likely to repeat that surprise. Jason Molins and Jeremy Bray added 45 for the first wicket, but Ntini's extra pace splintered the middle order, before Adams and Martin van Jaarsveld outfoxed the tail.