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India-Sri Lanka game washed out

Associated Press
Aug 16, 2006 at 05:46pm IST

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Colombo: The opening tri-series match between Sri Lanka and India was abandoned on Wednesday due to a wet outfield, compounding the woes of the organisers who are still unsure of South Africa's participation in the tournament.

Match referee Chris Broad, and on-field umpires Billy Bowden and Tyronne Wijewardene made two inspections of the Premadasa Stadium conditions before announcing that the match was postponed to Thursday.

Organisers had used extra ground staff in a vain attempt to dry slushy patches in the outfield.

FILLED OUTFIELD: The outfield at the Premadasa Stadium was enough to make the umpires cancel the game.

The original tri-nations schedule had South Africa playing Sri Lanka in the opening match, but that game was first washed out on Monday and then cancelled on Tuesday amid the tour team's security concerns after a bombing near the team's hotel in Colombo.

Security arrangements for the teams were upgraded after Monday's blast near a busy shopping area in the Sri Lankan capital, while organisers redrew the competition schedule and deferring the final by four days to September 2.

The organisers still don't know if South Africa will take part in the tri-series and are awaiting the outcome of the International Cricket Council's independent security evaluation.

"We're all awaiting a confirmation from the South Africans, and hoping they'll play," said Samantha Algama, spokesman for the Sri Lankan Cricket Board.

The South African team were ready to abandon the tour because of jitters after at least seven people, including four army commandos, were killed and several others wounded when an auto rickshaw packed with explosives blew up on Monday.

Cricket South Africa received a report from security staff accompanying the team, which recommended that South Africa's cricketers return home.

Sri Lanka insisted the team should stay, and upgraded the security arrangements around the team hotels, the grounds and also on the route that the team busses will take to the venues.

Under pressure from Sri Lanka Cricket officials, the ICC sought an independent security review of the upgraded arrangements.

An alternate India-Sri Lanka series is among the plans if South Africa abandons the tour.

"The ICC has asked for an independent security evaluation that has already begun," said South African team's spokesman, Gordon Templeton.

Provided they agree to play, South Africa's first outing will be on Saturday against India.

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