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Dublin: 6°C Sunday 17 January 2021
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Ireland hopeful of toppling world champions as squad is named for Sri Lanka games

There are plenty of familiar faces in Phil Simmons’ squad.

Ed Joyce is hoping to continue his recent good form against Sri Lanka.
Ed Joyce is hoping to continue his recent good form against Sri Lanka.
Image: Barry Chambers/INPHO

ED JOYCE BELIEVES Ireland will never have a better chance of toppling world champions Sri Lanka than when the two sides meet in a fortnight’s time in the RSA Insurance ODI Series.

The Bray native was today named in a 13-man squad for the games at Castle Avenue, Clontarf on Tuesday May 6 and Thursday May 8.

Despite winning the World T20 just a few weeks ago, Paul Farbrace has stepped down as Sri Lanka Coach today, meaning the country will be looking for their seventh coach in just four years.

Ireland are in position to take advantage of any upheaval Farbrace’s departure may cause particularly because Joyce has been in such good form lately; scoring three first-class centuries this month, including two in the recent victory at Edgbaston to help is county side Sussex to the top of the County Championship.

“I’m convinced we have a real chance of beating Sri Lanka because it’s fair to say they won’t relish the conditions we’re likely to encounter in early May in Dublin,” Joyce said.

Joyce scored his first ODI century for Ireland against Pakistan in 2013 but ended up on the losing side in the two-match series. Unsurprisingly it’s a result the 35-year old doesn’t want to repeat.

“We tied with Pakistan at the same venue last year, and lost the second match by a narrow margin when we looked like winning it,” Joyce said.

“It was a very special occasion for me to score that hundred in front of a sell-out crowd but it was a bitter-sweet experience as we eventually lost that game. Hopefully this time we can go one better and record our first Dublin victory against one of the big teams.

“I’ve only played one international match against Sri Lanka so I’m really looking forward to the challenge of facing some of the world’s best bowlers.

“As a player you always want to test yourself against the best, and there’s no doubt that the Sri Lanka attack very much comes into that category.”

Ireland coach Phil Simmons and his fellow selectors have stuck with a tried and trusted formula for the game, with all 13 players named featuring in the recent ICC World T20 finals in Bangladesh.

“We’ve resisted the temptation to make any changes, as the guys have been magnificent over the past few years,” Simmons said.

“We’ve turned in some fantastic performances against Full Members in recent times, but it’s a reality that we still haven’t recorded a major victory here in Dublin – although we seem to be getting closer every year.

“What better way to break that duck than with a win over reigning world champions? That would be a great thank-you present to the Irish fans who have made our last two fixtures sell-outs.”

IRELAND: William Porterfield (captain) (Warwickshire), Alex Cusack (Clontarf), George Dockrell (Somerset), Ed Joyce (Sussex), Tim Murtagh (Middlesex), Andrew McBrine (Donemana), Kevin O’Brien (Railway Union), Niall O’Brien (Leicestershire), Andrew Poynter (Clontarf), Max Sorensen (The Hills), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Stuart Thompson (Eglinton), Gary Wilson (Surrey).

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Steve O'Rourke

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