Ireland batters fold to spin as Sri Lanka complete innings victory in second Test
Sri Lanka bowled Ireland out on the final day to complete an innings and 10-run victory in the second Test in Galle. It was a dispiriting conclusion for the tourists, who had started the game by posting their highest ever Test total of 492 only to watch as Sri Lanka responded with a merciless 704 for three declared. Ireland went into day five with eight wickets intact and a realistic hope of hanging in and avoiding defeat for the first time in their six Test outings, but it was not to be. Left-armer Prabath Jayasuriya got the scalp he needed to become the quickest ever spinner to take 50 wickets - reaching the landmark in his seventh appearance when he removed first-innings centurion Paul Stirling for one - but Ramesh Mendis was the star turn. The off-spinner, who started the ball rolling on the fourth evening when he prised out opener James McCollom, finished with five for 64 as he lined up captain Andy Balbirnie, Curtis Campher, Andy McBrine and Graham Hume. Harry Tector provided the bulk of the Irish resistance, carving out 85 in a 189-ball stay at number four, but he was ninth man down when Asitha Fernando nailed him with a precision yorker. The game ended precisely one delivery later as Fernando wiped out Ben White in similar fashion, sealing victory by an innings and 10 runs. On a pitch favouring spin, Fernando had put in a lively performance, repeatedly hassling batters with his bouncer and forcing Balbirnie to retire hurt after an early blow to the helmet. The skipper returned later to complete his innings, but was not alone in failing to halt Mendis' charge. Ireland will play their fourth Test of the year against England in June, but will need to raise their spirits and their game at Lord's.
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