In a stunning display of dominance, Sri Lanka claimed a 2-0 series victory over Ireland on Friday, defeating the visitors by an innings and 10 runs in the second Test held in Galle. Despite a commendable second-inning effort by Ireland, they fell short, ending at 202 against Sri Lanka’s formidable 704-3 declaration.
Ramesh Mendis emerged as the star of the day, dismantling Ireland’s batting order with a splendid 5-64, despite a valiant stand by Harry Tector who scored 85. The match had been a run-fest for the first four days due to the docile pitch, but Mendis’ extraordinary bowling performance ensured a swift victory for the hosts on the final day, well before the tea break.
Ireland, having become a full ICC member in 2017, has seen their Test losing streak extend to six matches following this series. Sri Lanka’s Asitha Fernando also had a notable performance, taking three wickets including those of Tector and Ben White, which sealed the win for the hosts.
The final day was off to a rocky start for Ireland. Captain Andrew Balbirnie was forced off the field after being struck by a bouncer from Fernando. His substitute, Paul Stirling, was dismissed after scoring just one run, and subsequent wickets fell quickly leaving Ireland at 78-4. Despite a hopeful return by Balbirnie and a determined effort by Tector, Ireland could not force Sri Lanka to bat again.
Sri Lanka’s first innings saw an extraordinary performance by their top order. Kusal Mendis (245) and Nishan Madushka (205) both scored double centuries, while captain Dimuth Karunaratne and Angelo Mathews contributed with a century each, marking only the third instance in Test history where the top four batsmen all scored centuries.
Day four had also been a day of records, with Madushka and Mendis both scoring double centuries. The hosts declared at 704 for three, a record-breaking score in Galle. Despite the defeat, Ireland can take some positives from the series, including their highest-ever Test score of 492 in the first innings, and will now aim to bounce back in their future matches.