Hambantota Stadium threatened by wild elephants ahead of Sri Lanka-Zimbabwe clash

Hambantota Stadium threatened by wild elephants ahead of Sri Lanka-Zimbabwe clash

The Hambantota Stadium which boasts a capacity of 35,000 is situated beside an elephant sanctuary.

Sri Lanka vs Zimbabwe
Sri Lankan cricket captain Angelo Mathews and Upul Tharanga congratulate each other after securing the victory. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

There is a major concern that has struck the Sri Lanka-Zimbabwe series ahead of a series of one Day Internationals scheduled to take place at the Hambantota stadium. Sri Lanka, much known for its beautiful and diverse wildlife, are now facing problems because of the same.

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The country’s cricket board is set to spread out game wardens in order to prevent the invasion of wild elephants onto the pitch while Sri Lanka host Zimbabwe at the Hambantota Stadium.

Security experts will be there to handle the situation during all the three ODI matches. The Hambantota Stadium which boasts a capacity of 35,000 is situated beside an elephant sanctuary, an official told AFP on Monday.

Mahinda Rajapakse, who was the President of the country when the stadium was built in 2009, was from Hambantota. But the stadium did not see much cricketing action in it due to its secluded location and high maintenance costs

“There had been a few instances when elephants broke through the fence and invaded the pitch at night,” said the official, who asked not to be named.

“A jungle patch starts about 100 metres from the stadium and we are deploying 10 wardens to make sure that fans don’t stray into that area and provoke the elephants,” he told AFP by telephone from Hambantota.

According to the official, a herd of about 25 elephants has been spotted strolling around 240 km. south of Colombo, which is a risk to the fans. However, wildlife has caused problems previously in Hambantota, when swarms of wasps have caused major troubles.

The last ODI played at Hambantota roots back to 2 years. Following a recent refurbishment, Sri Lanka Cricket scheduled the final three ODI matches against Zimbabwe at Hambantota.

The games will mark the winner of the series, after the two sides earned a victory each in the first two games played at Galle.