Dublin chill could help tame Sri Lanka says Irish coach Simmons

Sri Lanka captain Angelo Matthews and Ireland captain William Porterfield with the RSA Insurance ODI Series trophy.
Sri Lanka captain Angelo Matthews and Ireland captain William Porterfield with the RSA Insurance ODI Series trophy.

Ireland coach Phil Simmons believes the expected chilly Dublin conditions could aid his team in today’s opening one-day contest against Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews acknowledged yesterday that the visitors were finding the temperatures “too cold” as they trained at Clontarf.

However, Ireland coach Simmons certainly wasn’t complaining.

“I don’t think they will be like it and I hope it is [even] a little colder than it is today,” smiled Simmons.

The temperatures are not expected to edge about 13 degrees Celsius in Dublin while rain interruptions also appear highly likely.

For his part, the Sri Lankan captain acknowledged that the Clontarf pitch looked “a bit slow and wet” but Mathews remains confident that his somewhat inexperienced side will be motivated to perform well with the series against England coming up later in the month.

Sri Lanka have rested five senior players including bowling star Lasith Malinga with Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Rangana Herath and Tillakaratne Dilshan also sitting out the Dublin games for the World Twenty20 champions.

Over the weekend, the tourists called up Shaminda Eranga to their squad after Thisra Perara was ruled out because of visa difficulties.

“We wanted to give the opportunity to the younger guys,” added the Sri Lanka skipper.

“I believe they can step in and do the job. All our younger guys are extremely impressive.”

For the Irish, Alex Cusack will be available for selection after being rested for Leinster’s weekend inter-provincial game because of a niggle.

Skipper William Porterfield has been among a number of Irish batsmen who have been in fine form in the early weeks of the English County season.

Ed Joyce has led the way with two hundreds in Sussex’s win over Warwickshire while Niall O’Brien has also notched a recent ton for Leicestershire against Glamorgan with Porterfield also in decent form for Warwickshire.

“It’s good that a number of the batsmen are coming into this week’s games in a bit of form and hopefully they can keep that up,” said Porterfield.

In last year’s one-day series against Pakistan, Ireland earned a battling tie in the first game before late struggles with the ball saw them succumb to a narrow defeat in the second encounter.

Three months later, Ireland appeared to have England in a degree of trouble in front of a full house at Malahide only for Eoin Morgan and Ravi Bopara to subsequently demolish the home attack with a display of aggressive hitting.

Worries about the Irish bowling resurfaced at the World Twenty20 in March when an astonishing assault by the Dutch batsmen saw Simmons’s side fail to progress to the first-round proper at the tournament.

Publicly at least, Simmons has been playing down his team’s bowling troubles in the run-up to this week’s matches while his skipper insists that the Dutch debacle is now “long gone” from the minds of the Irish players.

Time will tell.

Ireland (from): William Porterfield (capt), Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, Ed Joyce, Tim Murtagh, Andrew McBrine, Kevin O’Brien, Niall O’Brien, Andrew Poynter, Max Sorensen, Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson, Gary Wilson.

Sri Lanka (from): Angelo Mathews (capt.), Lahiru Thirimanne, Dinesh Chandimal, Chathuranga de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Shaminda Eranga, Nuwan Kulasekara, Suranga Lakmal, Ajantha Mendis, Kusal Perera, Dhammika Prasad, Ashan Priyanjan, Sachithra Senanayake, Upul Tharanga, Kithuruwan Vithanage