Ireland hopeful of season hat-trick against Sri Lanka in Dublin

Ireland hopeful of season hat-trick against Sri Lanka in Dublin

IRELAND cricketers will cap off a triumphant season hat-trick if they beat Sri Lanka in their two One-Day Internationals this week in Dublin.

The first of two matches is underway in Clontarf with the host nation hoping to secure victory against the T20 champions to add to their defeats of Zimbabwe and the West Indies earlier this year.

Captain William Porterfield is hopeful that Ireland will finally triumph on home soil against a competitive side, following away wins over Pakistan, England and Bangladesh in the past seven years.

"It's no secret we have yet to beat a major team in Belfast or Dublin and that's something we want to put right," he said.

"We tied with Pakistan last year and probably should have won both games, so we have to learn to finish off teams.

"We've done very well to take early wickets in our last few home games but we have to look at ways to keep on taking wickets all the way through an innings, and keep the pressure on opponents.

"The way a lot of the big teams are approaching ODIs these days is to set up for the back end of the innings by keeping wickets in hand, so the more wickets you can take, the more you can delay that final push in the death overs."

Ireland’s chances of beating the 1996 World Cup champions are dealt a helping hand with the absence of the visitor’s star blower Lasith Malinga, coupled with Sri Lanka’s unfamiliarity with early-season playing conditions in Dublin.

Veteran batsman Ed Joyce – who is in fine form for Sussex with three championship centuries already to his name this season - will also be a huge asset for Ireland.

"I feel really good body-wise – actually better than I did two or three years ago – and obviously I've started the season really well," Joyce said.

"It's never easy batting at Clontarf at this time of year but our seam bowlers know those conditions well and that should give us a big advantage over the two games."

Ireland: William Porterfield (capt), Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, Ed Joyce, Tim Murtagh, Kevin O’Brien, Niall O’Brien, Max Sorensen, Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson, Gary Wilson/ 12th Man: Andrew McBrine

Sri Lanka: (from) Angelo Mathews (capt), Lahiru Thirimanne (vice-capt), Kusal Perera, Upul Tharanga, Dinesh Chandimal, Kithuruwan Vithanage, Ashan Priyanjan, Nuwan Kulasekara, Sachithra Senanayake, Suranga Lakmal, Ajantha Mendis. 12th Man: Chaturanga de Silva