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Published: 17:13 | 16/6/16

Sri Lanka's cricketers beat Ireland

Tourists win by 76 runs on D/L/S method

Sri Lanka beat Ireland by 76 runs on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series at Malahide Cricket Club.

Dinesh Chandinal hit an innings-anchoring 100 from 107 balls as Sri Lanka posted 303-7 from their 50 overs.

Ireland were 164-4 in the 33rd over, 24 runs off the required D/L/S rate, when the rains that had threatened all day finally materialised.

And despite a spirited 64 from 49 balls from Kevin O'Brien, an innings that included six fours, three sixes and five drops, Ireland were never able to get their noses in front when they returned to the field.

It was a disappointing end to what should have been a showpiece occasion for Cricket Ireland, and their campaign to #MakeCricketMainstream in a country where GAA, football and rugby dominate the back pages.

The two-match series cost Cricket Ireland 200,000 euro to stage, but the board have become more willing to take financial risks following the great success of the ODI against England in 2013, where 9,000 packed into the ground under azure-blue September skies.

But, despite just about recouping their costs through TV rights sales, the image that went around the world were far removed from that picture-perfect day of two-and-a-half years ago.

Just 700 tickets were sold in advance, as Ireland fans waited for the weather forecast before committing, and the grey skies ensured a minimal walk up on the day.

And those that did turn up left disappointed as the Sri Lankans, who had shivered their way through defeats in Leeds and Durham during the three-Test series against England, secured victory at chilly Malahide.

Angelo Mathews' side played a perfect, old-school 50-over innings under the clouds, after losing openers Kusal Perera and Dhanushka Gunathilaka during the powerplay.

Both were dismissed by Ireland debutant Barry McCarthy, rewarded for a bright start to the season with Durham having fallen off the Ireland radar over the winter while playing grade cricket in Australia.

Sri Lanka's fightback was led by Chandimal, who alone coped with the seaming ball and the gloomy skies of northern England in scoring Sri Lanka's only century in the England series, and ODI debutant Kusal Mendis.

The pair put on 82 for the third wicket, then Chandimal combined with Angelo Mathews to rack up 88 for the fourth wicket.

And, as Ireland's bowlers laboured in the final overs, Dasun Shanaka spanked a quickfire 42 from 19 deliveries and Chandimal completed his third ODI century to bring the score to over 300.

Ireland have chased down 300+ scores to beat full members before, most notably against England in the 2011 World Cup and the West Indies in the 2015 tournament.

But they have never won an ODI against a full member in Dublin, and they never looked like ending that sorry record despite a well-crafted 73 from 88 balls from skipper William Porterfield.

When O'Brien was seventh man out in the 38th over, the game was up, although there was just time left for Shanaka to complete a memorable debut of his own with figures of 5-43.

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