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Pitch-fixing claims ‘difficult to believe’: Sri Lanka Cricket

Prime News, International Sports, Cricket, Colombo, May 29:- Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) 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 was 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 less than 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.

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. –(Inputs: Agencies, NGB)

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