Sri Lanka overcome brave Ireland

Jayawardenes class bails Islanders out in unexpectedly tight contest

Sri Lanka overcome brave Ireland


After deciding to bat first, Sri Lanka struggled their way to 144 for nine, but managed to compensate for the shoddy batting effort with a tidy bowling to restrict Ireland to 135 for seven for a nine-run win.

Ireland tried bravely to hunt the target down, but the variety in the Lankan attack was too much for them to negotiate.

That their premier batsman Niall O’Brien was struggling with a calf strain did not made their task easier. Before he got bogged down, Niall and skipper William Porterfield put the Lankan attack to sword with some clean hitting. But once the duo was separated, Lanka tightened their grip.

Sri Lanka started their innings shakily when in-form Tillakaratne Dilshan was dismissed in the first over itself. To their credit, Ireland bowlers did not panic at the sight of some of the best stroke-makers in world cricket and stuck to their task admirably.
Boyd Rankin and Trent Johnston gave nothing away, putting them under considerable pressure. With runs not coming at the desired pace, Lankans began to get frustrated and skipper Kumar Sangakkara was the first victim.

The left-hander’s attempt to force the pace off Johnston ended in the hands of Niall O’Brien behind the stumps, but the best phase of Sri Lankan innings followed the dismissal. Sanath Jayasuriya and man of the match Mahela Jayawardene added 67 for the third wicket.

Contrary to normal, it was Jayawardene who dominated the partnership while Jayasuriya, who could not exactly shift to the top gear, focused on rotating the strike. Jayawardene was in exemplary touch, playing some delectable drives to keep up the tempo of scoring.

The alliance was blooming, but disaster struck Lanka at that juncture. Jayasuriya, probably wanting to join the party, tried a powerful sweep off Kyle McCallan and fell leg before.

SCORE BOARD

SRI LANKA

Dilshan c N O’Brien b Rankin    0
Jayasuriya lbw McCallan    27
S’kkara c N O’Brien b Johnston    3
Jayawardene b Cusack    78
Silva c Rankin b McCallan    4
Mubarak c N O’Brien b Cusack    7
Mathews b Cusack    10
Kulasekara c Mooney b Rankin    1
Muralitharan st N O’Brien b Cusack    0
Malinga (not out)    1
Mendis (not out)    4

Extras (LB-5, W-4)    9
Total (for 9 wkts, 20 overs)    144

Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-14, 3-81, 4-97, 5-126, 6-128, 7-132, 8-139, 9-140.
Bowling: Rankin 4-0-27-2, Jonston 4-1-18-1, West 4-0-34-0, McCallan 4-0-33-2, Cusack 3-0-18-4, K O’Brien 1-0-9-0.

IRELAND

P’field c S’kkara b M’tharan    31
N O’Brien st S’kkara b Mendis    31
White c S’kkara b Kulasekara    22
K O’Brien c Dilshan b Mendis    0
Mooney (not out)    31
Johnston b Malinga    9
Botha b Malinga    0
Cusack (run out)    2
West (not out)    1

Extras (B-1, LB-3, W-3, NB-1)    8
Total (for 7 wkts, 20 overs)    135

Fall of wickets: 1-59, 2-87, 3-89, 4-91, 5-106, 6-106, 7-129.
Bowling: Angelo Mathews 3-0-23-0, Nuwan Kulasekara 4-0-47-1, Ajantha Mendis 4-0-22-2, Lasith Malinga 4-0-19-2, Muttiah Muralitharan 4-0-13-1, Sanath Jayasuriya 1-0-7-0.

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