The hosts’ dominance was more-or-less unceasing through the course of the day, leaving Ireland in a woeful situation at stumps – they are still 474 runs behind, with three first-innings wickets in hand. The pitch has begun to take significant – if not unplayable – turn too. To challenge Sri Lanka in Galle in April’s unrelenting heat was always going to be difficult for Ireland, who have never played a Test here, and are playing their first two-Test series ever. But they will likely need to battle hard on Tuesday to avoid a defeat inside three days.
Ireland had started the day nicely, with Campher dismissing nightwatcher Jayasuriya in the second over of the morning, before McBrine trapped Dhananjaya de Silva in front not long after. But that was as good as it got for them. Samarawickrama and Chandimal then put on an unbeaten 183 runs together, the attack wilting in extremely hot and humid conditions.
Samarawickrama progressed with special alacrity to a maiden Test century, in his first Test in more than five years, as he preyed on the short lengths that Ireland continued to feed him. He had begun strongly, hitting three boundaries behind square off the first eleven balls he faced. Though he did not quite manage to keep scoring boundaries that frequently, his strike rate never dipped too far beneath 90, as he found singles and twos square of the wicket, particularly on the offside, and particularly against the spinners.
His having hit a century in his first innings after being recalled will please the selectors. Niroshan Dickwella, the player he has essentially replaced in the XI, had not hit a hundred in 96 Test innings.
Chandimal’s century – the 14th of his career – was the innings of an old pro. He’d begun the day on 18, and eased himself into the day, as the two early wickets fell at the other end. Ireland tried stacking the offside and bowling wide of off stump to Chandimal, to deny him his favoured legside strokes, but this did not bother Chandimal much, as he found boundaries through cover and deep third, and occasionally down the ground.
Chandimal could have been out on 55, had the umpire given him lbw against the legspin of Ben White. Although Ireland reviewed, the ball was not hitting enough of leg stump to reverse the on-field decision. Chandimal got to a hundred with a cover driven four in the second half of the middle session, before Samarawickrama struck two boundaries in succession to complete his own first trip to triple figures. Sri Lanka declared at the end of that over.
Ireland’s bowling analysis was not pretty. Spinners McBrine, White, and Dockrell all claimed a wicket each, but conceded 393 runs between them. The seamers fared a little better – Campher taking 2 for 84 from his 21 overs, while Adair claimed 1 for 95. Adair had had to go off the field in the middle of an over in the first session, with a suspected intercostal injury. But he returned later to deliver more spells.
News Source: https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/ireland-in-sri-lanka-2023-1363445/sri-lanka-vs-ireland-1st-test-1363447/match-report-2