Ireland have suffered a 79-run defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka in the first of the RSA ODI Series in Clontarf thanks to a masterful bowling display from the mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis.
Ireland went into the break in the ascendancy after restricting the visitors to 219-8 off their 50 overs. Tim Murtagh was the pick of the Irish attack, the seam bowler finishing with the miserly figures of 2 for 21 after his 10 overs. The Sri Lankan innings never got going despite good starts from Chandimal, Mathews and Priyanjan who all made 30’s before departing.
A couple of lusty blows be Nuwan Kulasekara saw him step up the pace towards the later end of the innings – he finished on 42 not out. The rest of the wickets were spread amongst the Irish attack with Cusack, Thompson, Dockrell, O’Brien and Stirling all claiming one apiece to put Ireland in a strong position.
Ireland’s reply got off to a bad start when Stirling went with just four team runs on the board with Ed Joyce following soon after. Niall O’Brien(33) and captain William Porterfield (37) combined well to get Ireland back on track, but consistent wickets from the Sri Lankans put the pressure on Ireland who were eventually all out for 140 in the 40th over. Ajantha Medndis was duly named man of the match following his quick-fire 18 not out and figures of 3-26 with the ball.
(Courtesy: Cricket Ireland)