Mathews praises 'scrappy' Clontarf effort

Ireland

Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews was pleased with the way his side fought back against Ireland in the first ODI in Dublin on Tuesday, with their bowlers doing a top-notch job after the batsmen were below par.

Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews was pleased with the way his side fought back against Ireland in the first ODI in Dublin on Tuesday, with their bowlers doing a top-notch job after the batsmen were below par.

Sri Lanka won by 79 runs, despite only scoring 219 in their 50 overs. Ireland were bamboozled by Ajantha Mendis, who took three quick wickets, and were all out for 140 with 10 overs to spare.

Mathews said he hadn't been overly concerned about the below-par total, which they only got thanks to Nuwan Kulasekara's brisk 42 not out, as he knew his spinners would do the job on a tough batting track.

Mathews said: "The guys were a bit scrappy but to get over the line was a good effort. It's only the start of the tour and when we adapt to the conditions we will perform better and better.

"I was not really bothered at halfway. I knew I had the bowlers to defend the total. The pitch played pretty slow in the first half and our batters had to work hard to get to 220 and it was a very pleasing effort.

"It played better in the second, but the spinners were key. (Ajantha) Mendis bowled some really good balls as did (Sachithra) Senanayake. The two fast bowlers also came to the party.

"We didn't know what kind of total was a good one as we haven't played here before, and that's why we wanted to bowl first."

Ireland skipper William Porterfield was disappointed with the capitulation, but gave credit to Mendis, who was always going to be a tough prospect. But he said that a few of the wickets were gifted to Sri Lanka.

He said, having fallen to Mendis himself: "Two new balls were always going to do something early on but to be only two down going into the 19th over with 60 on the board was good.

"Mendis was always going to be a threat on that pitch. But the run out of Gary Wilson (immediately after Mendis had Niall O'Brien for 33) set us back and Kevin (O'Brien's first ball) dismissal put us on the back foot.

"He will say he was disappointed with his shot and the loss of four wickets killed us. Some dismissals were avoidable but we have to pick ourselves up and come back on Thursday.

"Credit to Mendis but we can come through it and take him for 35 for minimum loss which would set ourselves up.

"On another fresh pitch, we will have a very good chance and while we are disappointed how we batted, especially through the middle overs, there's no reason why we can't turn them over on Thursday."

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