Late Flurry Sets Up Sri Lanka Win
Sri Lanka 219-8 (Kulasekara 42no) beat
Ireland 140 (Lakmal 3-27) by 79 runs
First One-Day International, Dublin
Runs at the tail-end of Sri Lanka's innings helped set up a comprehensive 79-run win over Ireland in the first One-Day International in Dublin.
Nuwan Kulasekara top scored with 42 not out in 34 balls as he hauled Sri Lanka to a score of 219 for eight after they had been reduced to 135 for six and 160 for seven batting first.
Ireland lost two early wickets and were subsequently unable to build any sort of platform and were bowled out for 140 in reply.
The home side started strongly as Sri Lanka's struggled to come to terms with blustery conditions.
Kushal Perera (0) was well caught by Kevin O'Brien off Tim Murtagh and Lahiru Thirimanne (8) edged Alex Cusack to wicket-keeper Gary Wilson.
Upul Tharanga (24), Dinesh Chandimal (39) and Angelo Mathews (30) played patiently to get Sri Lanka's innings back on track only for Ireland to bounce back.
Tharanga was caught behind off Thompson, Chandimal caught and bowled by Kevin O'Brien and Mathews run out by a direct hit from Niall O'Brien.
Kithruwan Vithanage had been caught in the deep by Ed Joyce off Paul Stirling by the time that Mathews' dismissal left Sri Lanka at 135 for six.
Ashan Priyanjan joined forces with Kulasekara, scoring 31, and putting on 25 for the seventh wicket.
Kulasekara then added 16 more with Sachithra Senanayake (3) and then with Ajantha Mendis (18 not out in nine balls) pushed Sri Lanka past the 200-run mark that looked way beyond them earlier in the day.
He hit three fours and two sixes - the only maximums of the innings.
Ireland were unable to maintain their excellent start although Murtagh (2-21), Cusack (1-53), Thompson (1-19), George Dockrell (1-45), Kevin O'Brien (1-10) and Paul Stirling (1-39) all took a wicket apiece.
Kulasekara then followed up his batting form with the wicket of Stirling, who was bowled for four and Joyce followed him back having failed to register a run before edging Suranga Lakmal to Chandimal behind the stumps.
William Porterfield (37) and Niall O'Brien (33) then added 58 runs for the third wicket, O'Brien facing just 39 balls and Porterfield more circumspect, facing 87.
However, Porterfield's pace of scoring owed plenty to Ireland losing wickets at the other end.
O'Brien was trapped in front by Ajantha Mendis, Wilson (3) was run out by Senanayake and Thompson was also trapped in front by Mendis for one as Ireland collapsed to 74 for six.
Mendis, who finished with three for 26, took the important wicket of Porterfield, who was caught in the deep by Perera.
Lakmal bowled Cusack (10), Kulasekara trapped Max Sorensen in front for 17 and Murtagh was trapped in front by Senanayake (10) to end the contest after Ireland's lower order had at least kept them batting for 39.5 overs in all.
Lakmal returned three for 29, Kulasekara two for 30 and Senanayake one for 27.
The two sides meet again at the same venue in two days (8th May).
© Cricket World 2014