Monday, November 28, 2022

Australia tour to give financial boost to Sri Lanka cricket

Colombo, Sri Lanka ( Associated Press) – The Australian cricket team’s six-week tour of Sri Lanka amid the economic crisis could have a positive impact.

Sri Lanka Cricket said on Monday that the proceeds from tickets for three Twenty20, five One Day Internationals and two Test matches will be donated to charity initiatives.

“These are difficult times for our people,” SLC secretary Mohan de Silva told reporters in Colombo. “We are really grateful to Cricket Australia and the Australian government for supporting this series despite the difficulties we are facing as a nation.”

The island nation is facing its worst economic crisis since independence in 1948, headed for bankruptcy and so saddled with foreign debt that it has no money left for basic imports. Sri Lankans are struggling to access essentials like food, fuel, medicine and cooking gas.

Sri Lanka Cricket has already donated $2 million to the health sector to buy essential medicines.

Cricket in Sri Lanka was mostly played in empty stadiums for two years during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, although a 50% capacity crowd was allowed for the Test series against the West Indies in Galle last December.

The series will begin with a T20 match at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Tuesday, and will be the first time Sri Lankan fans will be allowed to visit venues for limited-overs matches since the pandemic began.

Ticket sales started on Saturday and within five hours the T20s on Tuesday and Wednesday were sold out.

T20 world champions Australia unveiled a formidable XI including Steve Smith in the middle order at the cost of Josh Inglis, who will take on Sri Lanka in the opening match of the series.

“Over the years, we have had some close matches against Sri Lanka. They are a good team and they have some match winners,” said Australia captain Aaron Finch. “If you take someone like Wanindu Hasaranga during the IPL, he was quite a handful even on flat wickets.”

In the Indian Premier League, Hasaranga went to Royal Challengers Bangalore for $1.3 million and finished the competition as the second highest wicket-taker.

Sri Lanka were expected to finalize their lineup after a training session under Roshni.

“We had a close series against Australia earlier this year and it was in their conditions – we are very confident that we will be able to turn things around in our conditions,” said Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka. “Our bowling is very strong but our batting is strong.”

Sri Lanka will be without injured top-order batsmen Kusal Perera and Avishka Fernando.


Sri Lanka (Captain): Dasun Shanaka (Captain), Pathum Nisanaka, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Charit Aslanka, Bhanuka Rajapakse, Nuwanindu Fernando, Lahiru Madushanka, Vanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Dushmantha Chamira, Nuwan, Ramesh Mendis, Nuwan.

Australia: Aaron Finch (captain), David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, Ashton Agar, Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson, Josh Hazlewood.

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