Joyce: Now is the time to beat Sri Lanka
Updated: Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 11:11
Ed Joyce believes Ireland will never have a better chance of toppling world champions Sri Lanka than when the two sides meet in a fortnight's time in the RSA Insurance ODI Series.
The Bray native has been named in a 13-man squad for the games at Castle Avenue, Clontarf on Tuesday 6 May and Thursday 8 May.
Joyce has been in sparkling form, scoring three first-class centuries this month, including two in the recent victory at Edgbaston that helped Sussex to the top of the English County Championship.
"I'm convinced we have a real chance of beating Sri Lanka because it's fair to say they won't relish the conditions we're likely to encounter in early May in Dublin," Joyce said.
"[Sri Lanka] won't relish the conditions we're likely to encounter in early May in Dublin" - Ed Joyce
The 35-year-old veteran scored his first ODI century for Ireland against Pakistan in 2013 but ended up on the losing side after an epic two-match series.
"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," Joyce said.
"It was a very special occasion for me to score that hundred in front of a sell-out crowd but it was a bittersweet 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.
"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.
"As a player you always want to test yourself against the best, and there's no doubt that the Sri Lanka attack very much comes into that category."
Ireland coach Phil Simmons and his fellow selectors have gone for the tried and trusted, with all 13 players named featuring in the recent ICC World Twenty20 finals in Bangladesh.
"We've resisted the temptation to make any changes, as the guys have been magnificent over the past few years," Simmons said.
"We've turned in some fantastic performances against Full Members in recent times, but it's a reality that we still haven't recorded a major victory here in Dublin - although we seem to be getting closer every year.
"What better way to break that duck than with a win over reigning world champions? That would be a great thank-you present to the Irish fans who have made our last two fixtures sell-outs."
Simmons is encouraged by the early season form of his players. "It's great that the skipper William Porterfield was amongst the runs yesterday making 77 against Lancashire, and of course Ed Joyce has been just phenomenal for Sussex," he said.
"Tim Murtagh has been among the wickets for Middlesex while George Dockrell had a five-wicket haul in a Somerset seconds game, so that will give them all encouragement as we look for that landmark win."
Ireland squad: William Porterfield (captain) (Warwickshire), Alex Cusack (Clontarf), George Dockrell (Somerset), Ed Joyce (Sussex), Tim Murtagh (Middlesex), Andrew McBrine (Donemana), Kevin O'Brien (Railway Union), Niall O'Brien (Leicestershire), Andrew Poynter (Clontarf), Max Sorensen (The Hills), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Stuart Thompson (Eglinton), Gary Wilson (Surrey).