Emergency thermals for Sri Lanka as they battle the weather in Ireland

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Sri Lanka play the first of two ODIs against Ireland today, and have drafted in some emergency last minute help.  And no, we’re not talking about Shaminda Eranga, who was called up at the last minute to replace Thisara Perera, who didn’t get his visa in time.  Because the main worry for the Sri Lankans is the weather, and to combat the Irish chill, they’ve bought a mass of emergency thermals to keep the players warm.


“The weather is our main challenge”, admitted Angelo Mathews as the wind howled in across Dublin Bay yesterday.  The Sri Lankans have been in England at the start of two of the last three summers, but Mathews noticed the difference. “It’s colder in Ireland than the UK,” he grinned. “A bit of sunshine would be nice.”

The Ireland captain, William Porterfield, knows that the conditions will assist his team as they seek their first big scalp at the venue. “The last few one-dayers we played here we’ve been able to utilise the conditions, especially by taking early wickets”, he said. “Early in the season the ball will do a bit and the seamers are looking forward to it.

“What we have to do now is to keep taking wickets in the middle overs to set ourselves up. We’ve been looking at our death bowling – over the two Pakistan games and against England last year we let ourselves down.”

In each of those games Ireland got themselves into winning positions only for it to slip from their grasp.

“We were disappointed with the second Pakistan game not to get over the line from position we were in. There were times when we slackened off but we need to be able to nail teams,” said Porterfield.

His batsmen have been in excellent form, none less than Ed Joyce, who made 482 first-class runs in April for Sussex. “Ed has been one of the stand-out players in England, and Nobby [Niall O’Brien] also got a big hundred last week. I’ve had a couple of good starts myself, and guys like Kevin O’Brien have had good innings at home. I hope now we can all bring that out into the middle for Ireland.”

They will face a Sri Lanka side newly crowned as World T20 champions, but without 5 of their senior players, as Mahela Jayawardene, Tillekeratne Dilshan, Lasith Malinga and Ranjana Herath have been rested, whilst Kumar Sangakkara is playing for Durham in the County Championship to prepare for the upcoming England tour.

“We wanted to give the opportunity to the younger guys”, explained Mathews. “They have been in and around the team for a while and they haven’t had enough opportunities, so that was the main idea. I believe they can step in and do the job for us. All the younger guys are extremely talented and have enough potential to beat any team.”

Porterfield had mixed feelings about facing a squad that, for all Mathews positivity, is undeniably weaker. “I can’t say I’m too disappointed that Lasith Malinga didn’t get on the plane,” he grinned, “but they have a lot of good young cricketers with quite a bit of experience and they’ll be champing at the bit to get going. We’d be foolish to take them lightly.”


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