BSP-26 Sri Lanka says pitch-fixing claims ‘difficult to believe’

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BSP-26

CRICKET-SRI-AUS-ENG-ICC-CORRUPTION

Sri Lanka says pitch-fixing claims ‘difficult to believe’

COLOMBO, May 28, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Sri Lanka’s cricket board on Monday
described allegations of pitch-tampering at Galle International Stadium as
“difficult to believe” but agreed to cooperate fully with an international
investigation.

TV news channel Al Jazeera broadcast a documentary Sunday showing a
groundsman and a player allegedly discussing altering the pitch at Galle
during Australia’s 229-run loss in the second Test against Sri Lanka in 2016.

Australia lost all their 20 wickets and were beaten inside three days.

Galle groundsman Tharanga Indika and professional cricketer Tharindu Mendis
also allegedly speculated about fixing the pitch to ensure a result in under
four days in the Test against England in November.

Both men have been suspended by Sri Lanka Cricket pending the outcome of an
investigation by the International Cricket Council. A third man, provincial
coach Jeevantha Kulathunga, was also suspended.

But the board’s vice president Mohan de Silva said there had been no
complaints about the Galle pitch from captains, umpires or the referee during
the match between Australia and Sri Lanka in 2016.

“There is no need to investigate the Test. Players did not complain.
Captains report, umpires report and the match referee’s report did not say
anything about the pitch,” he told reporters.

“There is nothing adverse about the pitch. It is difficult to believe there
was any wrongdoing.”

Indika and Mendis were stood down Sunday after a trailer for the Al Jazeera
documentary was aired.

Kulathunga was suspended after the full programme by the Qatari channel
alleged corruption at the highest levels of world cricket.

Sri Lanka cricket chief executive Ashley de Silva said the alleged
involvement of Sri Lankans in the scandal dealt a blow to the island’s
reputation.

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

The board lodged a complaint on Sunday with Sri Lankan police, who have
initiated a separate criminal investigation.

The board has also appointed a three-member panel to investigate the matter
and issue recommendations to prevent any corruption at future fixtures in Sri
Lanka.

Sri Lankan players and umpires have been accused of match-fixing in the
past.

Jayananda Warnaweera, a former curator at Galle, remains under a three-year
ban by cricket’s world governing body until January next year for failing to
cooperate with a corruption inquiry.

No big-name Sri Lankan player has ever been convicted of corruption but
several stars have alleged match-fixing and spot-fixing.

BSS/AFP/MRI/1740 hrs