Ireland face Sri Lanka in the second of two one-day internationals on Thursday after the visitors cruised to a comfortable victory in the first match of their tour on Tuesday.
Venue: Clontarf Cricket Club Ground, Dublin
Date: Thursday, May 8, 2014
Start time: 10:45 a.m. BST
Live on: YouTube, Cricket Ireland official website
Weather: The Weather Channel is predicting a cool, windy day of 14 degrees Celsius with showers likely to affect play throughout the morning and afternoon.
There's something of a hoodoo for Ireland when it comes to the Clontarf ground in Dublin. Despite the fact that the nation is enjoying its best era in the sport, Castle Avenue continues to witness opportunities being missed by the home side.
That was again the case on Tuesday, as William Porterfield's men collapsed to be all out for 140 in their chase of Sri Lanka's rather modest total of 219-8.
As expected, the tourists' spinning duo of Ajantha Mendis and Sachithra Senanayake caused an array of problems for the hosts, while Suranga Lakmal and Nuwan Kulasekara enjoyed the seam-friendly conditions that were available with the new ball.
It was two of those aforementioned men who thwarted Ireland in the game's first innings as well. After the Irish seamers had skilfully utilised the familiar conditions, Kulasekara and Mendis finished the Sri Lankan innings with a flurry to push the visitors' total beyond 200.
Ireland responded with its lowest ever one-day international total at the ground.
Now, both teams will look to Thursday's encounter as another opportunity. For the home side, it's another chance to claim their first win over a Test-playing nation at Clontarf, while Sri Lanka will look to build further momentum ahead of their clashes with England in two weeks' time.
William Porterfield (c), Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, Ed Joyce, Andy McBrine, Tim Murtagh, Kevin O'Brien, Niall O'Brien, Andrew Poynter, Max Sorensen, Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson, Gary Wilson (wk)
Angelo Mathews (c), Lahiru Thirimanne (vc), Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Chaturanga de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Shaminda Eranga, Nuwan Kulasekara, Suranga Lakmal, Ajantha Mendis, Kusal Perera (wk), Dhammika Prasad, Ashan Priyanjan, Sachithra Senanayake, Upul Tharanga, Kithuruwan Vithanage
Players to Watch
Ed Joyce was dismissed without scoring on Tuesday when the impressive Lakmal claimed his wicket with an edge to Dinesh Chandimal. In a low-scoring affair, it was a critical moment.
Having played for England in the early part of his international career, Joyce is Ireland's most reliable middle-order player and has been critical to the nation's recent run of success.
If the hosts are to repel the world-class limited-overs bowling attack residing within the Sri Lankan camp, Joyce must make a key contribution.
Kusal Perera suffered the same fate as Joyce on Tuesday, departing without a run to his name in the game's first over.
However, expect the explosive left-hander to turn that around on Thursday as he looks to kick-start an impressive campaign on foreign soil.
Possessing an uncanny similarity to the great Sanath Jayasuriya, Perera is capable of taking Ireland's seam attack apart with his flashing drives and lightning wrists, and could take the game away from the hosts in a matter of minutes.
Ireland have deservedly claimed the "giant killer" tag across the last few years, with a recent victory over the West Indies in the Caribbean representing a fine example of this team's abilities.
However, Angelo Mathews' Sri Lankan side is a formidable opponent at present and will have been buoyed by the capture of the ICC World Twenty20 trophy in Bangladesh last month.
With a world-class bowling attack and a long batting line-up, Sri Lanka should secure the series on Thursday if rain doesn't prevent a result from being reached.
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