Ireland vow to be 'more aggressive' against Sri Lanka

Ireland vow to be 'more aggressive' against Sri Lanka

Ireland cricket player Niall O’Brien has called on Ireland to be “more aggressive with the bat” in their second One Day International against Sri Lanka.

The Leicestershire cricketer spoke to The Irish Post ahead of today’s fixture in Clontarf, Dublin, and admitted that the home side still have an opportunity to level the two-match series.

“We’ve got the chance [today] to put it right,” O’Brien explained.

“We’ve got to be a bit more aggressive with the bat and take the bowlers on and not let them settle into a routine and rhythm.

“Hopefully we’ll get the desired result.”

Sri Lanka claimed a 79 run victory in the opening game of the series on Tuesday, and O’Brien added that Ireland’s batting was the team’s downfall.

Ireland were chasing a target of 220 but were dismissed for 140 in 39.5 overs, with many of the home side’s batsmen each failing to score a run total over 20.

Captain William Porterfield impressed and top-scored with 37 from 87 balls whilst O’Brien recorded 33 from 39, hitting five boundaries, but this was not enough to defeat the world Twenty20 champions.

“Tuesday didn’t quite go to plan. Sri Lanka ran out comfortable winners to be fair, it should have been closer than it was,” O’Brien added.

“We didn’t bat well. We bowled well and fielded very well, but the batting let us down.

“It was disappointing, we’ve batted well in the recent past and managed to get big scores, and had players to go on and get big scores and match-winning performances, which we didn’t do on Tuesday.”

The home side had chanced themselves ahead of the first match to beat the 1996 World Cup winners, due to the absence of the visitor’s star blower Lasith Malinga and Sri Lanka’s unfamiliarity with early-season playing conditions in Dublin.

But, both sides found themselves struggling with the slow pitch in Clontarf, with Sri Lanka’s bowlers benefitting the most from conditions.

“Pitch conditions have probably helped Sri Lanka somewhat,” O’Brien said.

“They’ve got good spin bowlers and the ball was turning quite a bit, so we’ll have to wait and see what pitch we get [today]. The overhead conditions are definitely in our favour.”

Today’s match will be Ireland’s last opportunity to play a major team ahead of next year’s World Cup, which kicks off in February, therefore, the players will be hoping that a victory will boost the team’s morale.

“This is the last opportunity of this magnitude before we begin touring for the World Cup; a win would really give us confidence.”