Sri Lanka Cricket shares probable new venue for fourth ODI between India and Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Cricket shares probable new venue for fourth ODI between India and Sri Lanka

"The stadium is an asset, and our investment, so we want to make good use of it. So this is a good time to start," the SLC president said.

Sooriyawewa International Cricket Ground
Sooriyawewa International Cricket Ground. (Photo Source: chinca.org)

Sri Lanka Cricket has hinted at having a new venue for the fourth ODI between India and Sri Lanka during the scheduled series beginning in July. The President of Sri Lanka Cricket Thilanga Sumathipala shared in a press conference ahead of Sri Lanka’s series against Zimbabwe that they are looking to host the fourth ODI at Mahindra Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium in Sooriyawewa.

The stadium was built for the 2011 Cricket World Cup and hosted two matches, the first being Sri Lanka against Canada, on 20 February 2011. The stadium has a capacity of 35,000 people making it the second largest stadium in Sri Lanka. However, it has come under criticism lately as only a few matches are held in the stadium, considering the extreme costs for construction and maintenance.

Nevertheless, Sri Lanka Cricket is hoping to have the stadium ready to host the fourth ODI between India and Sri Lanka. Sumathipala said that there is an outer perimeter fence which cannot be completed, but they will look to have the facilities inside the stadium up and running.

“As you are all aware, there was an outer perimeter fence. I don’t think we can finish that. We are planning to complete the three one-dayers and look for the fourth ODI against India as well. Originally we set aside a budget of 20 million rupees to refurbish. But I think we will be spending about 8-10 million rupees,” he said.

“Mainly we are looking at the two dressing rooms, umpires’ and match referees’ area. We have a severe problem with regard to the grandstand. The engineers have asked us not to use it due to non-completion of the glass work. There’s a danger that glass is coming out. Therefore we are securing certain areas for the public not to go until we complete our major repair. So for the purpose of this tournament, we feel it is adequate for the ground area to be in good shape,” Thilanga Sumathipala added.

Wickets are fantastic: SLC president

The stadium had also hosted three games during the 2012 T20 World which was held in Sri Lanka. The last game that was held at the stadium was a rain-curtailed game between Sri Lanka and South Africa, which the hosts lost by 32 runs. During the 2011 World Cup, both games that were played at the Mahindra Rajapaksa International Stadium saw over 300 runs being scored in the first innings. Sumathipala assured that the wickets are in great condition for the proposed one-dayer in July.

“Wickets are fantastic, side practice facilities are ok. But maintenance of the stadium is the problem. A central air-conditioner plant is running and it costs us approximately a millions rupees a month for the electricity. So it is not designed for smaller games. You have to run the main air-conditioner if you have to play any game, even if it is a club game. So there is an issue we cannot cope with.”

“We are slowly looking into all that. It’s an asset, and our investment, so we want to make good use of it. So this is a good time to start. We are looking at the fourth ODI against India to be played there,” the President of the SLC concluded.

India’s tour to Sri Lanka begins with 3 Tests, starting on July 26. The two teams are then slated to play 5 ODIs and a lone T20.