Canada Global (Web News) At the end of the opening day of the second Test against Sri Lanka in Galle on Monday, Ireland had a commanding 319 for four, thanks in large part to a career-high 95 from Andy Balbirnie.
After suffering a severe innings loss in the first Test, Ireland made a tremendous recovery. At the end of play, Lorcan Tucker was undefeated on 78, while Curtis Campher was still alive and well.
Ireland started apprehensively after making three adjustments as James McCollum was replaced for ten and Peter Moor was replaced for five.
However, after Harry Tector was dismissed by Jayasuriya for 18, captain Balbirnie persevered in the hot and muggy circumstances, putting together a 115-run partnership with the returning Paul Stirling.
This is only Ireland’s sixth match, and it was their greatest partnership in their limited Test history, surpassing a 114-run stand from their first Test in 2018.
However, Balbirnie lost the opportunity to surpass his previous best of 82 and become just the third Irishman to reach a Test century when he was caught for 95 after a crazy paddle sweep off Kusal Mendis.
“I would have loved to score a hundred, but I’m not disappointed because I was able to put the team in a very good position,” Balbirnie said to reporters.
“As a young Test playing nation, we are very pleased with what we have achieved today, and we need to seize the moments from here on,” he continued.
The guys’ comeback following the first Test was impressive.
Stirling, who missed the first Test, demonstrated his experience by punishing loose deliveries by reaching his first Test cricket half-century off 64 balls.
But when he was forced to retire hurt from cramping, his promising knock was cut short. His 74 came off 133 balls and included three sixes and six fours.
Mendis caught Tucker off Jayasuriya bat-pad, but the appeal was denied, and captain Dimuth Karunaratne decided against reviewing.
Ireland has already reached their second-highest Test cricket total, trailing only the 339 points they were able to score against Pakistan in 2018.
Piyal Wijetunga, the spin bowling coach for Sri Lanka, thought his team’s spinners should have performed better.