Ireland handed reality check after McCarthy's dream start
Barry McCarthy made a stunning start to his Ireland career at Malahide yesterday before quickly learning the hard truths of international cricket as Sri Lanka eased to a 76-run victory to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-two KPC Group series.
Pembroke and Durham all-rounder McCarthy took two wickets with his first seven balls but then got hit for four successive boundaries as Sri Lanka piled up 303-7 and was out for a five-ball duck when Ireland were dismissed for 216 chasing a revised target of 293.
It was an impressive debut, nevertheless, from the Durham player. After receiving his Ireland cap from John Mooney, the man he is charged with replacing, McCarthy bowled a lively pace, skidding through off the pitch and getting the odd delivery to bounce impressively.
The extra lift was responsible for breaking Sri Lanka's opening partnership when his second ball was nicked to Paul Stirling at slip and the celebrations had hardly ended when the 23-year-old held a return catch from the first delivery of his next over.
The dream start didn't last, though, and reality set in when McCarthy was hammered for three fours at the end of his next over, and another at the start of his fourth, all the boundaries struck by Kusal Mendis on his way to 51.
The debutant had to settle for figures of 2-69 from nine overs after more punishment from Dinesh Chandimal, who completed a classy unbeaten century in the final over from 107 balls, while Max Sorensen also proved expensive, conceding 26 from his sixth and final over.
Boyd Rankin, returning to the ground where he took four wickets for England in an ODI in 2013, was the pick of the Ireland bowlers with 2-45 and Tim Murtagh bowled well to restrict the visitors at the death.
Ireland are no strangers to chasing in excess of 300 and made a solid start, with Stirling and captain William Porterfield adding 53 on another good Malahide pitch.
Stirling played a couple of gorgeous wristy shots through the offside but was then bowled for 27, to become the first of five wickets on debut for Dasun Shanaka, who had earlier smashed 42 off only 19 balls at No 6 to give the Sri Lankan innings real impetus.
Ed Joyce disappointed the headline writers by only making nine on Bloomsday but the scoreboard kept ticking during a partnership of 68 between Porterfield and Kevin O'Brien, who was dropped three times, and Ireland were closing on the D/L par score when the skipper was caught at mid-off for 73 from 88 balls just before a rain break.
Stuart Poynter struck three boundaries after the resumption but when he was bowled for 20 from 21 balls it precipitated a collapse of six wickets for 18 runs, including O'Brien whose 64 contained three sixes, two of them helped over the boundary by Sri Lankan fielders.