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Batting attack puts Sri Lanka on top in historic Test against Ireland

18 April, 2023

 Batting attack puts Sri Lanka on top in historic Test against Ireland

GALLE      -   Rapid centuries to Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis have put Sri Lanka in a strong position as the top-order pair set out to attack the Ireland bowlers.

Sri Lanka reached 386/4 after winning the toss and batting on the opening day of their first-ever Test against Ireland as Karunaratne and Mendis plundered the runs on their way to a pair of tons. Karunaratne smashed 179 runs from 235 balls that included 15 boundaries, as the Sri Lanka skipper scored at a strike rate (76.17) well above his rate of 50.1 in 84 previous Tests. Keeper-batter Mendis joined Karunaratne for a 281-run stand that had Ireland against the ropes until they hit back late in the day with three wickets.

Mendis was the first to fall in that run when out lbw on 140 to end an eye-catching innings that included 18 boundaries and a lofty six, while scoring at a strike rate of 72.53 from 193 balls.

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The rapid scoring was as much a reflection of Sri Lanka’s positive play as Ireland’s bowling, in a start that was reminiscent of England’s electrifying approach while winning 10 of their past 12 Tests. The century was Mendis’ first in more than three years and eighth overall, as the 28-year-old finally reached three figures after six fifties in his previous 15 Test innings. Karunaratne scored his 15th ton to back up the good form he showed with three fifties from four Test innings in New Zealand. Ireland will again turn to spinners Andy McBrine (0/107) and Ben White (1/86) on day two of their first Test in Sri Lanka conditions as they look to work their way back into the contest.