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Chandimal, Shanaka set up easy Sri Lankan win

Porterfield, O’Brien battle hard but Ireland slips to 76-run defeat in rain-hit first ODI

Chandimal, Shanaka set up easy Sri Lankan win - Cricket News
Dinesh Chandimal plays a shot.
Dinesh Chandimal scored his first One-Day International century in nearly five years and Dasun Shanaka made a memorable debut as Sri Lanka cruised to a 76-run victory over Ireland on the Duckworth-Lewis method in the first game of a two-match series in Malahide on Thursday (June 16).

Put in to bat by William Porterfield, Sri Lanka powered to 303 for 7 from its 50 overs, a formidable total that indicated the improvement it has made as its tour of England and Ireland has progressed.

Porterfield led a spirited Irish chase by making 73 off 88 deliveries, but was dismissed caught at mid-off just before play was interrupted by rain, with Ireland on 164 for 4 in 32.3 overs and Kevin O’Brien still in the middle.

When play did resume, Ireland was set a revised target of 293 in 47 overs and briefly made a bold fist of it through O’Brien, who smashed 64 off 49 deliveries with six fours and three sixes, and Stuart Poynter. But once the latter was bowled by Shanaka, Ireland keeled over, losing its last six wickets for just 18 runs to be bowled out for 216 in the 41st over.

Shanaka, who had enjoyed himself with a bruising 42, became only the 12th bowler to take five wickets on ODI debut on his way to figures of 5 for 43 and was well supported by Angelo Mathews, the Sri Lankan skipper finishing with 2 for 37 from nine tidy overs. 

Ireland made a bright start through Porterfield and Paul Stirling, who put on 53 for the first wicket, but Shanaka then stepped up to get rid of Stirling, Ed Joyce and John Anderson to leave the home side floundering at 91 for 3. O’Brien, riding his luck, and Porterfield steadied the ship by adding 68 for the fourth wicket, but Porterfield’s exit off the bowling of Shaminda Eranga tilted the scales Sri Lanka’s way.

Once Shanaka struck for a fourth time after the resumption of play to get rid of Poynter, it was Sri Lanka all the way, Max Sorensen’s scalp giving Shanaka his fifth wicket of the innings. Chandimal also had an excellent all-round game, supplementing his unbeaten century with three catches and a stumping.

Sri Lanka had earlier ridden on a superb 100 not out from Chandimal. His 107-ball knock included seven fours as the visitor continued its impressive recent batting upsurge after folding up cheaply in the first three innings of the three-Test series against England.

Chandimal was involved in partnerships of 82 with Kusal Mendis (51), 89 with Mathews (49) and 60 with Shanaka, who hit 42 from just 19 balls. Shanaka crashed five fours and three sixes in an impressive display of hitting as the Ireland bowlers wilted under the onslaught.

Barry McCarthy, the only Ireland debutant, had made the breakthrough in the eighth over, having Danushka Gunatilake caught at slip with his second ball, and he followed up with the first ball of his next over, holding a return catch to dismiss Kusal Perera.

But that only brought Chandimal in and he was quickly into his stride, although it was Mendis who found the boundary four times in succession to quickly show McCarthy that international cricket isn’t a bed of roses all the way.

Mendis gave a difficult chance to Stirling at slip on 43 but immediately after bringing up his fifty from 57 balls, he offered a return catch to O’Brien, who finished with 1 for 46 from his 10 overs.

Boyd Rankin, in his first home match for Ireland since his return from England duty, also bowled well to finish as the most successful bowler with 2 for 45.

Ireland did well to restrict the Sri Lankans to just 23 in the last three overs but the tourist always had enough runs on the board.

The teams will wind up the short series with the second and final game at the same venue on Saturday.