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Ireland come up short as classy Sri Lanka set the pace in series

By Ian Callender

Published 17/06/2016

Howzat: Sri Lanka’s Dananjaya de Silva and Dinesh Chandimal celebrate another wicket at Malahide on way to victory
Howzat: Sri Lanka’s Dananjaya de Silva and Dinesh Chandimal celebrate another wicket at Malahide on way to victory

A 24-year-old debutant stole the show at Malahide but it was a Sri Lankan rather than an Irishman who proved the difference between the teams.

Barry McCarthy received his first cap before the match but it was Dasun Shanaka who ended Ireland's hopes of a first one-day international victory in Dublin with five wickets and a whirlwind 42 from just 19 balls.

His runs helped Sri Lanka through the 300 barrier - 30 runs more than Ireland captain William Porterfield felt was a par total - and he then dismissed Paul Stirling and Ed Joyce in his first 13 balls to put Ireland under pressure.

John Anderson was given his first game against a Full Member nation, but the in-form Merrion batsman was Shanaka's next victim for just seven and although Kevin O'Brien enjoyed no fewer than four lives in his 49-ball innings, he couldn't take full advantage and was LBW for 64.

The tail folded quietly with Gary Wilson's poor run of form continuing and McCarthy left waiting for his first international run as Ireland fell 76 runs short of their revised target of 293, after rain reduced their innings to 47 overs.

Wilson was back behind the stumps in the absence of Niall O'Brien and both spinners, George Dockrell and Andy McBrine were left out. Sri Lanka, normally so proficient in slow bowling, followed suit and played only one spinner but they had more than enough class in the seam department to see off Ireland.

Porterfield played the best innings of the day for his side scoring 73 with just seven boundaries but, as he admitted afterwards his dismissal, 11 balls before the rain-break, was crucial.

Had he been there on the resumption, when Ireland needed 129 from 87 balls, it might have been different. Instead, they collapsed from 198 for four to 216 all out.

Either side of Shanaka's late heroics with the bat, Dinish Chandimal was the star performer with the wicket-keeper batsman scoring his first ODI hundred for five years from 107 balls.

McCarthy, brought on as first change, enjoyed a dream start with the ball, making Ireland's breakthrough with his second delivery and following up with a second wicket five balls later. But that was as good as it got and when Sri Lanka's other ODI debutant, Kusal Mendis hit him for four successive fours he quickly learned the other side of international cricket.

Tim Murtagh and Boyd Rankin disappointed with the new ball after Ireland had won the toss but Rankin, in his first ODI for Ireland on home soil for five years, came back well and finished with the best figures.

Kevin O'Brien was the pick of the rest of the attack but with the support lacking, the innings ran away from Ireland who can only return tomorrow to try and level the two-match series.

Belfast Telegraph

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