Ireland v Sri Lanka, 1st ODI, Clontarf May 5, 2014

First audition for Atapattu

Andrew Fidel Fernando and David Hopps

Match facts

Tuesday, May 6, Clontarf
Start time 1045 (0945 GMT)

Big Picture

Sri Lanka will shudder at the thought of losing to an Associate nation for the usual reasons, but a drawn or lost series could also be particularly grim for interim coach Marvan Atapattu, whose audition for the permanent job begins with this trip.

The loss of Thisara Perera has left the squad looking decidedly green, particularly in foreign conditions. Aside from Thirimanne, and increasingly, Angelo Mathews, few of the top order possess the temperament to thrive on early-season Irish pitches. Sri Lanka are without six frontline players, five rested seniors and Thisara Perera, who failed to acquire an Ireland visa thanks to his time at the IPL.

Predictably, this leg of the tour is about blooding youngsters - particularly batsmen. Kithuruwan Vithanage and Ashan Priyanjan will almost certainly have places in the middle order, and while Priyanjan appears the frontrunner to take a place in Sri Lanka's ODI squad to England, Vithanage has the chance to force himself into the mix.

So consistent has been the narrative as Ireland inch ever closer towards acceptance among cricket's elite that they should discover a few setbacks along the way has been hard for some to comprehend. Ireland's defeat against Netherlands as they failed to qualify for the finals of World Twenty20 was one such moment. Time is, nevertheless, a great healer and six weeks on Ireland go into this week's ODI series against Sri Lanka as the underdogs once again.

Nine months out from a third World Cup appearance, there are issues - uncovered during the winter - that need addressing. Consistency in selection has been the cornerstone of recent success but chinks are appearing: Boyd Rankin's decision to decamp, the retirement of Trent Johnston and the absence of John Mooney have brought uncertainty in the lower order. With little game time between now and the World Cup in Australia/New Zealand, there is scant opportunity for experimentation.

Form guide

Ireland: LWWLT (latest first)
Sri Lanka: WWWWW

In the spotlight

Making 23-year-old Dinesh Chandimal the T20 captain and ODI and Test vice-captain was always a gamble, but a year after he had been appointed, the selectors effectively conceded it had not paid off, when they relieved Chandimal of his leadership roles. Despite his foundering in Asia, Chandimal remains a good prospect, not only because of a Test record that remains decent, but because he has prospered in faster, bouncier conditions Sri Lanka batsmen often take years to master. Without a clot of seniors blocking out top-order spots in Ireland, Chandimal will likely have the chance to choose where he bats. He will probably be retained for the England ODIs regardless of his output in Dublin, but at least one good score against Ireland may help put the edge back into his cricket.

Team news

Ireland have six players released by their English counties to play in this series including captain Will Porterfield from Warwickshire and opening bowler Tim Murtagh from Middlesex.

Ireland (possibly) 1 William Porterfield (capt), 2 Paul Stirling, 3 Ed Joyce, 4 Niall O'Brien, 5 Gary Wilson (wkt), 6 Kevin O'Brien, 7 Andrew Poynter, 8 Stuart Thompson, 9 Max Sorensen, 10 George Dockrell, 11 Tim Murtagh

Sri Lanka may be tempted to open with Upul Tharanga, in order to allow Lahiru Thirimanne a chance at batting at his favoured no. 3 spot, but that may create complications with the jostle for middle order positions. Fast bowlers Shaminda Eranga and Dhammika Prasad will also complete for a place.

Sri Lanka (probable): 1. Kusal Perera, 2. Upul Tharanga, 3. Lahiru Thirimanne, 4. Dinesh Chandimal (wk), 5. Kithuruwan Vithanage, 6. Ashan Priyanjan, 7. Angelo Mathews (c), 8. Nuwan Kulasekara, 9. Sachithra Senanayake, 10. Dhammika Prasad/Shaminda Eranga, 11. Suranga Lakmal

Pitch and conditions

Expect it to be green and seaming: the question is just how green and seaming. If the hosts' quicks can claim early scalps on a seaming surface, they may expose a middle order more used to taking risks and dominating than surviving and rebuilding.


"The back-end of the innings is something we need to improve on in terms of death bowling and that was highlighted in the Holland game. The big things for ourselves is trying to take wickets in the middle overs because with the two new balls now, teams are aiming to keep wickets in hand and build a platform for the final ten overs or so."
William Porterfield, Ireland captain, learning lessons from defeat against Netherlands.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Kepili on May 6, 2014, 20:14 GMT

    SL badly needs an experienced OPENER to stem the inning in upcoming ODI series & for the future, including WC. Wasting anymore time with a substandard guy, who was parachuted to the ODI side in 2013, at the expense of 8th highest all time Run-maker for SL, is a CRIME! Persisting with an unskilled, substandard opener like KUSAL would certainly cost heavily for SL, in the Eng series as well as 2015 WC! He has managed just 17 RUNS in SIX consecutive innings at an astonishing AVERAGE of 2.9 on lively Fast-decks! Whenever he appear in these conditions, the lacking skills are clearly visible! How on earth, a player like him GET REPEATEDLY SELECTED for 50 over games? IT is high time for Sanath to bring back SL's most experienced young 28yr opener Upul Tharanga, who has scored 13 CENTURIES + 28x50s all over the world in ODIs. This includes 2 CENTURIES vs Eng in England. This is Tharanga's Record in Eng: Batting Average 69.40 -S/R 84.42 - 5 Inning -347 Runs - 100sx2 + 50sx1 (HS 120)..!

  • Buddhika on May 6, 2014, 16:51 GMT

    Good win for Sri Lanka.Congrats Important thing is Chandi came to some kind of the form. He is best batsmen in English moving bowl it's very important he is in form. Priyanjan also played's good sign for SL cricket future Pls give chance to Niroshan Dickwella instead of Upul Tharanga. and Chathuranga De Silva instead of Kithruwan.

  • Kepili on May 6, 2014, 16:50 GMT

    The gate has been opened yet again by KUSAL PERERA for the SIXTH CONSECUTIVE TIME on fast-decks in pace friendly conditions with another FOUR-ball DUCK!! He has not survived more than 10 Balls in six consecutive matches, played in these conditions! If someone is trying to justify his inclusion… then it can't be for the interest of SL Cricket! This is his career record on fast decks: 0 Runs -(1 Balls v NZ -Cardiff -9/06/13) (6 R -10 B -v Eng- The Oval-13/06/13) (4 R-2 B -v Aus-The Oval -17/06/13) (4 R-10 B -v India -Cardiff -20/06/13) (2 R-1 B -v India -Port of Spain -11/07/13)( 0 R - 4 B -v Ireland - 06/05/14). The other Guy who DOESN'T BELONG IN THE SQUAD is KITHU VITHANAGE . He is the only other guy who couldn't survive 5 balls! UPUL THARANGA & DINESH CHANDIMAL Showed how valuable they are in these conditions. If not for experienced Upul's role as an opener, SL could have collapsed further from that 2 down situation,SL desperately need the service of Upul Tharanga in ODIs/Tests

  • Neranjan on May 6, 2014, 16:40 GMT

    Easy as you like.. Congrats my Lanka & you are always there when ever we need you Kule... May allah bless all my Lankan Champs.. & It's cold here too in Kandy.. shivering cold

  • Neranga on May 6, 2014, 15:42 GMT

    our young team is way ahead than ireland team but needs to develop batting to face quality fast bowling & Chandimal is a future prospect no doubt about that specially on live pitches.... best of luck srilanka

  • Android on May 6, 2014, 13:55 GMT

    SL have good spin attack for Irish.

  • Dummy4 on May 6, 2014, 13:21 GMT

    Drop kithruwan and play Niroshan or chathuranga in next game!

  • Dummy4 on May 6, 2014, 13:20 GMT

    Chandimal again proved that he is the best batsman in SL for fast pitches! Kula played wonderful knock! when he required he always there! bravo kula

  • Neranga on May 6, 2014, 13:09 GMT

    kula you absolute beauty....runs are enough so hope its kulasekara's day today

  • Android on May 6, 2014, 12:37 GMT

    the ground is relatively small, short boundaries, and very important a low total, wickets have fallen. things not looking good for sl. :(

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