Ireland Wolves fall just short in first ODI against Sri Lanka A

NW Warriors' Stuart Thompson was the best of the Ireland Wolves bowlers, in Sri Lanka.
NW Warriors' Stuart Thompson was the best of the Ireland Wolves bowlers, in Sri Lanka.

More than 650 runs were scored, including three batters reaching centuries, as the Ireland Wolves fall 60-runs short against Sri Lanka A in the first 50-over match of a five-match series at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium in Sri Lanka.

After winning the toss, Ireland Wolves captain Harry Tector sent Sri Lanka A into bat first, however right from the first over the home side looked to attack the Wolves bowlers as they mounted a total of 365-5 from their 50 overs. Two Sri Lankan batters passed three-figures with Avishka Fernando hitting 128 runs from 120 balls, and Milinda Siriwardana scoring a whirlwind 111 from 75 balls.

While the bowlers struggled to contain the scoring rate, Stuart Thompson’s 2-36 from 6 overs was the pick of the line-up, and – while going wicketless – 18-year old leg-spinner JJ Garth maintained a consistent line and conceded just 54 runs from his ten overs.

With a mountainous target of 366 runs for victory ahead of them, the Wolves batters did not shy away from the task. The visitors put on a commendable batting display as they kept themselves in the game – with the target an unlikely possibility, but still within touching distance if they could put together solid partnerships.

James Shannon returned to form with a well-compiled 67 from 67 balls, that featured six fours and a six. However, the mainstay of the innings was 22-year old wicketkeeper-batsman Lorcan Tucker. Tucker hit 109 from 86 balls, striking 13 boundaries and clearing the ropes three times. Tucker has now scored 290 runs on the tour to date, at an average of 58. This was also his second century in Wolves colours, after his 138 against Gloucestershire 2nd XI in September last year.

By the time Tucker fell in the 36th over, the Wolves needed around 9.5 runs an over for the last 14 overs and managed to push their score to 305 before being bowled out – Shane Getkate’s 37 from 31 balls giving the batting side a late-order boost.

Speaking after the game, Lorcan Tucker said: "I think we played really well with both bat and ball. It was tough in the first innings, the wicket was very good and they batted well, but we held them up nicely and put ourselves in a decent position to go and win the game.

"With the bat, we just tried to bat as long as possible and stay in the game. We didn’t quite manage to do that but we’re pretty happy with our performance here. While we lost, we have plenty of things to build on going into the next game.”

About his century and the rest of the series, Tucker added: “It was a long fifty overs there at the start in the field in the heat, then to go out and bat – I tried not to think about it too much, I just batted through it.

“I think we saw most of their squad today in that game, so hopefully we can take all the learnings from this game and build on it into the next game.”