Ajantha Mendis took three wickets © AFP (File Photo)
May 6, 2014
After their bowlers did a fantastic job to restrict Sri Lanka to just 219 for eight in the first innings, Ireland‘s batsmen didn’t display similar fortitude against Sri Lanka’s bowlers. They were bowled out for a paltry 140 as Sri Lanka won by 79 runs in the first One-Day International (ODI).
Ireland lost opening batsmen Paul Stirling very early in the innings, as the opener fell for just four runs in the second over of the match to Nuwan Kulasekara. Lightning struck twice as Suranga Lakmal removed Ed Joyce for a duck in the third over. The Irish then found some hope in the form a strong little partnership between William Porterfield and Niall O’Brien. The two batsmen strung a 58-run partnership before O’Brien lost his wicket to the wily Ajantha Mendis. Mendis trapped him leg before wicket.
That partnership was the only brief corridor of hope for the Irish, who were quite shoddy with the bat, otherwise. After O’Brien’s dismissal, wickets started tumbling in a heap for Ireland as they quickly slid down to seven for 86 within a span of five more overs. By the 25th over mark, they had already lost more than half their side without even 100 up on the board.
Mendis was the wrecker-in-chief for Sri Lanka as the spinner took the crucial wickets of Porterfield, O’Brien and Stuart Thompson. Lakmal got the wicket of the dangerous Kevin O’Brien off the very first ball.
There was of course no coming back from that sort of a situation for Ireland, who ultimately tumbled out for 140 in the 40th over. Although their lower order stuck around for quite some time, it was not enough.
Earlier in the day, Ireland won the toss and elected to field. They made a fine start to the match by taking early wickets. Both left-handed opening batsmen, Kusal Perera and Lahiru Thirimanne were dismissed early in the innings. It was the Middlesex medium pacer, Murtagh, known for his ability to bowl with good control who dismissed Perera. He was followed back to the pavilion by Thirimanne, who lost his wicket to the Australian born medium pacer, Alex Cusack. Murtagh bowled with an excellent economy rate for Ireland.
Sri Lankan batsmen certainly struggled to counter the tough conditions on view for batting that one can get to see in Ireland during May. Upul Tharnga was the one batsman who was able to play well, and to an extent counter the tough conditions on view. Dinesh Chandimal, known for playing shots curbed his natural instincts to play a fine knock as well.
Tharanga though, lost his wicket to Stuart Thompson and that was a huge blow to Sri Lanka’s chances of getting a good score on the board. The Ireland setup is captained by William Porterfield and Sri Lanka, by the ever present all-rounder, Angelo Mathews.
Sri Lanka 219 for 8 in 50 overs (Upul Tharanga 24, Dinesh Chandimal 39, Ashan Priyanjan 32; Tim Murtagh 2 for 21) beat Ireland 140 in 39.5 overs (Ed Joyce 33, Niall O’Brien 37; Suranga Lakmal 3 for 29, Ajantha Mendis 3 for 27) by 79 runs.