Sri Lanka vs Ireland 1st Test: Preview and Prediction

Sri Lanka will be the favorites for the home series against Ireland.

A historic series awaits us as Ireland indulges in a Test match series against Sri Lanka on Sunday. This will be the first time that both nations will be tested against one another in the finest form of the ‘Gentleman’s game’. The first match of the series will be staged at the Galle International Stadium, Galle.

Sri Lanka will be captained by their usual skipper Dimuth Karunaratne. He will be accompanied by renowned names such as Angelo Mathews, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, and Dinesh Chandimal. 

Wicketkeeper, Niroshan Dickwella has been dropped from the squad after poor performances in the past few months. Oshada Fernando is another such name who was a part of the New Zealand Test series but has been axed for the upcoming affair. 

One of the most stem-winding aspects is the return of Sadeera Samarickrama. He last played a Test for the national side in 2017. Having participated in just four red-ball encounters, the gloveman has a strong contender in the form of Nishan Madhushka for the role behind the stumps. 

Pathum Nissanka who used to be one of the most consistent run-getters for Sri Lanka remains on the sidelines as he was axed after poor scores against Australia. 

The trio of Lasith Embuldeniya, Ramesh Mendis, and Prabath Jayasuriya consists of the spin department with the addition of uncapped Dushan Hemantha. Uncapped pacer Milan Ratnayake retains his spot despite warming the benches in the New Zealand venture. While Lahiru Kumara and Kasun Rajitha are rested, Vishwa Fernando and Asitha Fernando form the pace bowling duo of the home side.

On the other hand, Ireland will be captained by Andrew Balbirnie. He will be accompanied by mainstays – Lorcan Tucker and Harry Tector in the batting department. The former became the first Irish cricketer to notch a Test hundred for the national side while the latter was the first Ireland cricketer to secure fifty-plus scores in both innings.

Paul Stirling will join the side from the 2nd Test and is unavailable for the initial one. The pace bowling will be spearheaded by Mark Adair who will be succoured by Graham Hume and all-rounder Curtis Campher. 

Former Zimbabwe cricketer, PJ Moor who switched to Ireland continues to be a part of the side despite a poor run in the Bangladesh series. Ben White, Andy McBrine, and Matthew Humphreys are likely to form the spin department for the visiting side with George Dockrell chipping in with part-time spin.

What have they done so far?

Ireland will be playing a Test match against Sri Lanka for the first time in cricket history

The Sri Lankan side arrive from a stellar series against New Zealand. Despite losing the series 2-0, they have offered a valiant fight against the Black Caps in their own backyard. They were on the verge of a victory if not for the 2nd innings century from saviour Kane Williamson. 

New Zealand won the game with 2 wickets to spare in a last-ball finish. Right in the next red-ball affair, the home side steamrolled the Asian side. Sri Lanka was on the receiving end of a defeat via follow-on as they failed to surpass 580 runs despite batting for two innings. The series clean-sweep saw them get swept out of contenders for the World Test Championship finals.

Meanwhile, Ireland participated in a one-off Test match against Bangladesh and ended up on the undesirable side. Bangladesh batted second and the visitors could reach just 214 runs. In reply, Bangladesh glued 369 runs on the back of top-notch performances from Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan. 

The Irish side bounced back with 292 runs on the board in the third innings. They were in a position to be bundled up without playing a part in the fourth innings. But Lorcan Tucker, Harry Tector, and Graham Hume had other plans and coupled gritty knocks to see the Irish side get some lead. Bangladesh needed 138 runs to chase it down which they did comfortably with seven wickets to spare.

Head-to-Head Record

Sri Lanka and Ireland haven’t faced each other in a red-ball game. This is the first time both nations will be locking horns against one another in the purest form of the game.

Key Players

Dimuth Karunaratne (Sri Lanka): The Sri Lankan skipper hasn’t been in the best of form in the last few months. He has posted some impactful knocks in patches but is due off a gigantic knock in the whites. 

Karunaratne has averaged over 40 since 2021 and is 230 runs short of reaching the milestone of 6500 runs in Test cricket. He is a good batter of pace as well as spin.

Lorcan Tucker (Ireland): The wicketkeeper batter became the first Ireland cricketer to touch the individual century mark in red ball cricket. He brought up an impactful century (108 off 162 balls) when the European nation was reeling at 51/5. 

The right-handed batter is someone who plays spin watchfully and can turn out to be one of the reliable assets in Sri Lankan conditions.

Predicted XI

Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne ©, Nishan Madhushka (wk), Kusal Mendis, Angelo Matthews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dinesh Chandimal, Kamindu Mendis, Asitha Fernando, Prabath Jayasuriya, Ramesh Mendis, Vishwa Fernando

Ireland: James McCollum, Murray Commins, Andrew Balbirnie ©, PJ Moor, Harry Tector, Curtis Campher, Lorcan Tucker (wk), Andy McBrine, Ben White, Graham Hume, Mark Adair


Sri Lanka is the clear favorite on their home turf. But with the performance the Irish side put up on Bangladesh soil, one simply cannot write off the team led by Andrew Balbirnie.