HAMBANTOTA - The second ODI between Sri Lanka and Pakistan has been moved to Hambantota and brought forward to 26 August, after the Premadasa Stadium outfield was left waterlogged by 48 hours of continuous heavy rain. More bad weather is expected in Colombo over the next few days, making a recovery unlikely for the ground, as well as putting play in doubt on match day.
SLC had considered moving the match to Dambulla, where the third ODI is to be played, but because weekday matches must be day-night encounters, according to the board's broadcast contract with Ten Sports, Hambantota was preferred. The match had been scheduled for Wednesday but will now be played on Tuesday, with Wednesday as the reserve day.
"This decision was taken on a request from the national curator, where he had confirmed that the ground will not be fit to play the second ODI in Colombo on the 27th of August," an SLC release said. "Three days of sunshine would be needed to bring back the ground to normal condition." The rains had disrupted outfield preparation over the past few days, with the soil having taken too much rain to take the weight of a lawnmower. Ground staff had been confident an adequate pitch could have been prepared for the match, but could give no guarantees on the state of the outfield. "Fans who have already purchased tickets for the second ODI can either attend the match in Hambantota on Tuesday, or receive a refund," an SLC official said.
ODIs had most recently been moved mid-series in 2012, when the Premadasa outfield had been similarly affected by heavy rains, during a New Zealand tour. Two ODIs had been moved to Pallekele on that occasion. The weather forecast for Hambantota is much clearer than it is for Colombo next week, with sunny conditions expected on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.