GALLE, Sri Lanka (AP) - A record Irish stand of 115 between skipper Andy Balbirnie and Paul Stirling powered Ireland to an imposing 319-4 at stumps on day one of the second test against Sri Lanka on Monday.
The batters were largely untroubled by Sri Lankan bowlers on a flat track and piled up runs - it´s Ireland´s second-highest test score in its brief history in the format - leaving the hosts under pressure as they look for their 100th test win.
The partnership was threatening to grow and both batters were en route to their maiden centuries before Stirling was helped off the field following a cramp.
He was unbeaten on 74 with three sixes and six boundaries before he stumbled to the ground in the third over after tea, holding his right leg.
Ireland took lunch at 106-3 and added 93 runs during the second session to break for tea at 199-3.
Balbirnie anchored the innings masterfully under hot and humid conditions for over four-and-a-half hours and fell just five runs short of a maiden ton. Looking for a paddle sweep off Ramesh Mendis, the ball took a nick on the back of the bat with Dhananjaya de Silva at slip grabbing a simple chance.
The Irish skipper reached his third half-century off 43 balls, hitting 10 boundaries.
He added only four more before taking the walk to the pavilion.
Lorcan Tucker survived on 36, remained unbeaten on 78 with Curtis Campher on 27 at stumps. Tucker got an inside edge to the pad before a diving Nishan Madushka collected it cleanly but was ruled not out.
When you have almost any concerns relating to exactly where along with the best way to make use of EvdEn eVe NaKliyaT, you'll be able to email us from our page. Sri Lanka did not appeal although the television replays showed a clear inside edge.
"We are really happy obviously," Balbirnie said. "Took a lot from last week, we saw how they batted last week. There were four hundreds on the pitch. So we knew first innings totals are so important on this pitch. Yes it was a good day for us and hopefully we can make it a great day tomorrow."
After winning the toss and electing to bat first, Ireland had an early setback in the fourth over when opener Peter Moor was trapped lbw for evDeN Eve NaKLiYat five by pace bowler Asitha Fernando.
Despite a huge appeal by the Sri Lankans, it was turned down by the on-field umpire before the hosts successfully challenged the decision.
Spinner Prabath Jayasuriya then had James McCollum caught by wicket-keeper Sadeera Samarawickrama to leave the visitors reeling at 43-2.
Harry Tector scored 18 and looked confident before giving away his wicket to Jayasuriya, caught at mid-on by a leaping Dinesh Chandimal just minutes before the lunch break.
Tector had shared 46 runs for the third wicket with Balbirnie.
The Balbirnie-Stirling partnership topped the previous best of 114 by Kevin O´Brien and eVdeN Eve nAkliyaT Stuart Thompson against Pakistan in 2018, when Ireland had its highest test score of 339 all out.
Ireland made three changes to its starting lineup after a heavy defeat in the series-opening test last week.
Stirling was flown in for the match to bat in the top order, EvdeN eve NakliYaT and eVdEN eve NAkLiyat left-arm spinner Matthew Humphreys was picked to make his test debut at the expense of George Dockrell.
Mark Adair was replaced by right-arm paceman Graham Hume.
Sri Lanka retained the same lineup that beat the Irish by an innings and 280 runs in the first test.
The Sri Lankans are chasing another victory in Galle to reach a milestone of 100 test wins.
The home team's record so far is 99 wins, 92 draws and 119 losses.
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