Ireland beaten by Sri Lanka as they lose series

Irelands Paul Stirling
Irelands Paul Stirling
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Sri Lanka proved too strong for Ireland at Malahide beating the hosts by a convincing 136 runs to seal the KPC Group ODI series 2-0.

Having been put in to bat Sri Lanka racked up an imposing 377 for 8 - the highest total in a ODI in Ireland, scored 212 of their runs in boundaries - 32 fours and 14 sixes.

Openers Kusal Perera and Dhanuska Gunathilaka laid the foundations with an opening stand of 147 in 164 balls.

]It took a sharp throw by Paul Stirling to give Ireland the breakthrough to run out Gunathilaka for 63 from 78 balls ( 6 fours, 1 six).

Sri Lanka promoted Seekuge Prassana up the order and the move paid off as he launched into the Irish attack clearing the ropes nine times in a whirlwind 95 from just 46 deliveries.

He and Perera added 161 in just 92 balls to take Sri Lanka past the 300 mark and at that stage it looked as if Ireland would be facing a total in excess of 400.

Perera batted quite superbly reaching a deserved century from 105 balls (10 fours, 2 sixes), striking a further six boundaries in his 135.

Tim Murtagh (3-66) and Barry McCarthy (2-52) bowled well at the death, but it was too little, too late for Ireland as breezy cameos from Farvees Maharoof (29) and Angelo Matthews (24) kept the momentum going for Sri Lanka.

Chasing the daunting total Ireland lost wickets at regular intervals never threatening at any stage.

The Irish middle and late order rallied somewhat after slipping to 112 for 6 - Donemana and NW Warriors skipper Andy McBrine top scoring with his maiden ODI half century.

His swashbuckling 79 from just 64 balls included 7 fours and two sixes - the first one pulled over midwicket taking him to his fifty.

His Leinster Lightning counterpart John Anderson showed glimpses of the form that has seen him score heavily in domestic cricket, stroking six boundaries in an entertaining 34 before holing out to deep midwicket.

It was a good performance from Anderson but Ireland could have done with him staying at the crease for a longer spell.

Stuart Poynter also impressed as he bustled his way to 36, while Boyd Rankin (18*) and Andy McBrine gave the healthy crowd some late entertainment with Ireland’s highest ODI last wicket partnership.

Their 54 beating the 38 added by Rankin with John Mooney against Australia at Clontarf in 2010.

Despite all their efforts Ireland still lost by 136 runs - their heaviest home defeat in a one-day international.

Ireland will look to bounce back from this defeat when they play Afghanistan next month in a five-match ODI series - the first game at Stormont takes place on Sunday July 10.