Perera ton sets up Sri Lanka series win over Ireland

Malahide played host to the second encounter today.

Kusal Janith Perera was the hero for Sri Lanka today.
Kusal Janith Perera was the hero for Sri Lanka today.
Image: Presseye/Rowland White/INPHO

Updated at 8.15pm

KUSAL PERERA AND Seekkuge Prasanna both made career-best scores as Sri Lanka beat Ireland by 136 runs in the second one-day international at Malahide on Saturday.

Victory saw Sri Lanka enjoy their second heartening win in a matter of days as they took the two-match series 2-0 and gave them a confidence boost ahead of their upcoming five-game ODI campaign in England.

Put into bat, they amassed 377 for eight. Perera top-scored with an ODI best 135 and Prasanna made 95 — his highest score at this level.

Ireland, in reply, were bowled out for 241.

Sri Lanka, again sent into bat as they had been in their 76-run win in the first ODI at Malahide on Thursday, were well-placed at the half-way stage.

And when Suranga Lakmal and the recalled Farveez Maharoof removed Ireland’s top three with just 41 on the board, the rest of the match proved a formality.

John Anderson, an accountant and the only amateur in the Ireland side, showed promise for the future with 34 and Andy McBrine, batting at No 8, finished the innings in some style with 79 from 64 balls, including seven fours and two sixes.

McBrine and Boyd Rankin (18 not out) delayed the inevitable with a last wicket stand of 54 –- both making their highest scores for Ireland and Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews had to bring himself back to break the partnership and win the match with five overs to spare.

Sri Lanka, put in on another excellent batting pitch, made the perfect start with Kusal Perera and Danuska Gunathilaka sharing an opening stand of 147.

Gunathilaka was the first to go, in the 27th over, for 63, just two short of his ODI best, but both Perera and Prasanna easily passed their previous highest scores at this level.

Prasanna, promoted to a pinch-hitting role at number three, played his role to perfection to more than double his career best in a superb display of hitting.

He was dismissed five runs short of a deserved century having faced just 46 balls with nine sixes and five fours and he dominated the second wicket stand of 161 with Perera which took just 93 balls.

Perera reached his second ODI hundred from 105 balls with 10 fours and two sixes and added another 35 before he was caught at mid-wicket off Middlesex’s Tim Murtagh.

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In all he faced 128 balls and finished with 16 fours and two sixes.

Sri Lanka were on course for a total in excess of 400 but Ireland pulled them back by taking four wickets for 13 runs in the last three overs, although by then the damage had been done.

Barry McCarthy, a 23-year-old seamer in only his second international, was Ireland’s most impressive bowler, finishing with two for 52.

By contrast Boyd Rankin, in his first home series for five years after appearing for England, finished with one for 86 from his 10 overs.

Ireland will now look for an improved showing when they face Pakistan in a two-match home ODI series in August.

- © AFP, 2016

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