Ireland’s bowlers struggle against Sri Lanka because of the bad weather

The third day of play at Galle saw Ireland put up a fight against Sri Lanka, with Curtis Campher taking the lone wicket that fell before rain forced an early end

(Cricket news) Ireland had amassed a large score over the first two days, and Sri Lanka began the third day on 81-0, 411 runs behind. They immediately started working on eliminating the deficit, attacking Ireland’s bowlers on a pitch that provided little support.

Dimuth Karunaratne was the early leader as both hitters started the day slightly outside of 40. He slashed Campher’s opening ball of the day hard over the cordon for his maiden boundary, and from then on, he didn’t let up. In the fourth full over of the day, off 61 balls, he reached his half-century. It took him another 54 balls to reach his century. Only three of his fellow countrymen, batsmen Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, and Aravinda de Silva, are ahead of the Sri Lankan captain, who now has 16 Test tonnes, tying him with Tillakaratne Dilshan and Marvan Atapattu.

Nishan Madushka, who was taking part in his third Test match, was more reserved but still displayed his shot-making skills as he came down the track to hit Harry Tector for the opening six of the Sri Lankan innings. This knock brought about his own century. His century required 159 balls.

However, Campher eventually saw the fruits of Ireland’s labour on the next over. After being tickled fine for four with the next ball, he got an additional bounce off the calm ground, avoiding Karunaratne’s pull and hitting the home captain in the head. Despite passing the required concussion test, Karunaratne was struck by another Campher bouncer two balls later, which took the top edge and flew to Matthew Humphreys at fine leg.

Lunch was served after the dismissal, but after the break, runs kept coming. As Kusal Mendis continued where his skipper had left off, Ben White’s opening over of the afternoon session featured three boundaries. Ben White defeated Madushka’s attempted cut shot during a five-over stretch in which only nine runs were allowed and two maidens were bowled, adding to the pressure, but Sri Lanka were able to regain momentum.

There were still more opportunities. Mendis avoided a tight run-out opportunity after Harry Tector aimed for the striker’s stumps and struck a direct shot, but replays revealed the batsman was just in. White found Madushka’s inside-edge before a leading edge dropped just short of mid-wicket. Before drinks, Madushka had a big chance to take advantage of Ireland’s most economical bowler, Andy McBrine, by edging the ball to Andrew Balbirnie at slip, but the captain of Ireland was unable to hold on to the opportunity.

That delay appeared to serve as the catalyst for a Mendis counterattack. He struck White for his first six in the next over, and in the next over, he glided over the off-side to reach fifty off 59 balls. Soon after, as he increased his scoring pace to one run per ball, he hammered Humphreys, a debutant, for three straight sixes. Before terrible lighting and then a thunderstorm forced an early end to the proceedings, Madushka kept moving forward, finishing the day on 149.

With nine wickets left in their first innings and two further days left to play, Sri Lanka is 135 runs behind.

Ireland 492 (145.3 overs; Curtis Campher 111, Paul Stirling 103; Prabath Jayasuriya 5-174)

Sri Lanka 357-1 (77 overs; Nishan Madushka 149*, Dimuth Karunaratne 115; Curtis Campher 1-47)

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