Ed Joyce fancies the chances of victory for his Ireland side when they host Sri Lanka in Dublin next month, according to BBC Sport.
The recently crowned World T20 champions will visit the emerald isle for a two-match series, and the former England international believes that the associate nation have a great chance of claiming a big scalp. Pakistan toured last year and competed in an identical series, which the visitors just won. After a tied opening game, the tourists won the decider in spite of a century from Joyce.
But with his attention turned towards the upcoming matches, Joyce is confident, largely due to the conditions that the players will be faced with in a few weeks.
The BBC have quoted the 35-year-old as saying: "I'm convinced we have a real chance of beating Sri Lanka as they won't relish the conditions we're likely to face in early May in Dublin."
With talk of associate members potentially earning the chance to play Test cricket in the coming years – courtesy of success in the ICC Intercontinental Cup and ICC Test Challenge – now is a great time for minnows to be examined more regularly by established cricketing nations.
"As a player you want to test yourself against the best and Sri Lanka certainly come into that category," added the left-hander.
Ireland were sent home from the World T20 in Bangladesh at the earliest stage, missing out on playing the top sides after losing to the Netherlands. Nevertheless, they are renowned for throwing up a surprise or two on the international stage.
A Kevin O’Brien century helped Ireland to victory over England at the 2011 World Cup,
showing that they have the ability to mix it with the best of teams. Joyce also reflected and reminisced on his maiden Ireland ton and the visit of Kamran Akmal and co. last year: "We tied with Pakistan at the same venue last year, and lost the second match by a narrow margin when we looked like winning it.
“It was a very special occasion for me to score that hundred in front of a sell-out crowd
but it was a bitter-sweet experience as we eventually lost that game. Hopefully this time we can go one better and record our first Dublin victory against one of the big teams.”
Winning would be a real sign of intent that this cricketing nation is ready to continue
expanding. Sri Lanka may have just claimed the World T20 title, but Ireland will offer them a stern 50-over assessment.
More matches like this will only aid development, as the Irish have the opportunity to test
themselves against Test nations without having to qualify for an ICC tournament first.
When these two sides met at the 2007 World Cup, the Irish carded no less than five ducks as they were skittled for just 77. Sri Lanka chased down the meagre total for the loss of just two wickets.
Joyce also faced Mahela Jayawardene’s side at that tournament, but he as playing for
England at the time. But he is now relishing the opportunity to compete against them in the Irish capital.
The Sussex batsman illustrated: "I've only played one international match against Sri
Lanka during the 2007 World Cup, so I'm really looking forward to the challenge of facing some of the world's best bowlers."
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