Sri Lanka will be looking for its first win on the tour of the United Kingdom when it meets Ireland in the first of two One-Day Internationals in Dublin on Thursday (June 16).
Sri Lanka lost the three-match Test series 2-0 to England but will be encouraged by the improvement it showed as the series progressed. It has acclimatized with time, and starts the series as the favourite against the Associate team.
Angelo Mathews’s men have five changes to the squad that played the Test series, with Milinda Siriwardana, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Niroshan Dickwella and Dilruwan Perera making way for Farveez Maharoof, Upul Tharanga, Seekkuge Prasanna, Danushka Gunathilaka and Suraj Randiv. Of the ones left out, Siriwardana can perhaps consider himself unlucky as he was the highest scorer in Sri Lanka's most recent ODI series, earlier this year in New Zealand.
Sri Lanka will be missing Tillakaratne Dilshan, who pulled out due to personal reasons, but has experience with the likes of Tharanga and Maharoof returning. Maharoof has been recalled to the side after four years while Tharanga hasn't played an ODI since July last year. Tharanga, along with Lahiru Thirimanne, provides stability while the likes of Kusal Perera and Dinesh Chandimal, as well as Mathews, are expected to be the aggressors.
On the bowling front, Shaminda Eranga, Nuwan Pradeep and Suranga Lakmal share the pace-bowling duties with Dasun Shanaka and Maharoof also options. The pair of Randiv and Prasanna form the spin department in the absence of Rangana Herath, who has retired from limited-overs international cricket.
Sri Lanka will fancy its chances, but Ireland has proved very often that it is no pushover in ODI cricket. With 11 ODIs scheduled before October, it has a great chance to improve its ODI ranking and, perhaps, prove a few more points as it has over the years.