Sri Lanka plays down pitch-fixing allegations, agree to probe

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka Cricket Monday played down the allegations that its staff had tampered with the pitch to alter the outcome of the 2nd Test against Australia in August 2016, but said they were open to an international investigation.

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Vice President Mohan de Silva said he did not believe the allegations that the Galle International Stadium prepared to fix the match that Sri Lanka won by 229 runs in less than three days.

The  Al Jazeera documentary broadcast Sunday showed groundsman Tharanga Indika and a district coach, Tharindu Mendis, discussing how the Galle pitch was altered for the 2nd Test against Australia in 2016.

They were also discussing plans to prepare a pitch to force a result under four days for the upcoming Test against England in November.

De Silva said there had been no complaints about the pitch from the captains, umpires or the referee of the 2016 Australia Test.

"There is no need to investigate (the 2016 Galle Test). Players did not complaint, captains report, umpires report and the match referee’s report did not say anything about the pitch.

"There is nothing adverse about the pitch. It is difficult to believe there was any wrong doing," de Silva said at a hurriedly summoned press conference at the Cricket board.

However, he said the Galle groundsman and two other Sri Lankan cricketers were suspended pending the outcome of the International Cricket Council (ICC) investigation.

Cricket officials had on Sunday night said Indika and Mendis were suspended after they watched a trailer of the Al Jazeera documentary, but another was suspended after reviewing the full report broadcast on Sunday.

The third Sri Lankan suspended was Jeevantha Kulathunga, a provincial coach, contracted by Sri Lanka Cricket.





SLC Chief Executive Officer Ashley de Silva said the involvement of Sri Lankans in alleged corruption was a blow to the country’s image.

"It has created kind of a bad impact on the organisation (SLC) and the country as a whole…. We are not encouraging this type of thing (corruption)," de Silva said.

The board has already lodged a complaint with the Sri Lankan police who have initiated a separate criminal investigation.

SLC has also appointed a three-member panel to study the issue and make recommendations to prevent any corruption at future tournaments in Sri Lanka. (COLOMBO, May 28, 2018)

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