Sri Lanka beats Ireland again, wins test series 2-0

GALLE, Sri Lanka (AP) — Prabath Jayasuriya became the fastest spinner to reach 50 test wickets and Ramesh Mendis claimed his fourth five-wicket haul as Sri Lanka cruised to an innings and 10-run win over Ireland on Friday to seal the series 2-0.

Resuming on 2-54, the Irish batters crumbled to 202 all out in extremely hot and humid conditions.

“The way the bowlers bowled, it was really amazing,” Sri Lanka captain Dumuth Karunaratne said. “The fast bowler, spinners and Ramesh came back very well. The way Asitha (Fernando) bowled was really amazing. If we want to win away series, this is the kind of bowling we need. Ramesh could not do well in the first innings, but he bounced back well.”

Sri Lanka, which made its first test appearance in 1982 against England, won the first test by an innings and 280 runs. Friday's victory was the country's 100th test win.

Ireland has now lost all six matches since making its test debut in 2018 against Pakistan in Dublin.

The Irish fought hard against the strong bowling effort from the Sri Lankans, who worked to a concerted plan with Fernando generating seam and bounce on the fifth-day wicket and spinners getting some turn.

One of those bouncers struck the helmet of Ireland captain Andy Balbirnie. He was taken off the field briefly but returned to bat at the fall of Curtis Campher’s wicket before the lunch break. Balbirnie then made 46 before holing out Mendis to Angelo Mathews at mid-off to leave Ireland at 6-143.

Paul Stirling (1), one of the two centurions in Ireland’s first innings, did little to keep the scoreboard ticking when Kusal Mendis completed an excellent low catch at extra-cover off left-arm spinner Jayasuriya.

That was Jayasuriya’s 50th test wicket in only his seventh test match.

West Indies left-arm orthodox Alf Valentine held the previous record from eight tests. Jayasuriya joins former England seamer Tom Richardson and South Africa fast bowler Vernon Philander as the co-second fastest among all bowlers. Australia fast bowler Charlie Turner holds the record overall among spinners and fast bowlers, having reached the milestone in only six tests.

Jayasuriya took 10-108 in Sri Lanka’s innings in the first match and added 5-174 in the first innings of the second test. With two wickets needed, he dismissed opener Peter Moor early in the second innings to move to 49 wickets before claiming the wicket of Stirling.

Sri Lanka hit back at regular intervals. Fernando (3-30) was rewarded for some tight bowling when a short ball struck Lorcan Tucker (13) on his ribcage before dribbling into the stumps. He was soon followed by Campher, who was caught at leg slip by Kusal Mendis when he attempted to sweep. Ireland took lunch at 5-121.

While Jayasuriya passed a record milestone, Ramesh Mendis (5-64) took the wickets of James McCollum (10), Ballbirnie (46), Campher (12), Andy McBrine (10) and Graham Hume (10).

Harry Tector, however, stroked a career best 85 — his third half-century.

“We have to take the positives. To take it to Day 5 was excellent,” Balbairnie said. “We know how good a team Sri Lanka is. We need to make improvements. It is not easy. We don’t play a lot of red-ball cricket. We have to do things better.”


More AP cricket: and