Asia Cup 2010 June 23, 2010

Sri Lanka Cricket defends Dambulla lights

The low intensity of floodlights at the Rangiri Dambulla Stadium has been a talking point during the Asia Cup, and it could be a factor in Thursday's final as well. Kumar Sangakkara, the home team's captain, thought it was important enough to bowl first in the dead rubber against India on Tuesday so that his side could get some batting time under the floodlights.

The Sri Lankan board has been surprised by the complaints from players and insists it has done all it had to before the start of the tournament. "There have been plenty of day-night matches at Dambulla before and there have been no official complaints about the lights then," Ashley de Silva, the Sri Lanka Cricket's head of cricket operations, told Cricinfo. "We just had to check whether the floodlights worked."

The game's governing body, the ICC, which has no direct involvement in the operational running of the Asia Cup, has elaborate guidelines on floodlight parameters from the necessary illumination of different parts of the playing area to the positioning of the towers.

The complaints about the quality of Dambulla's floodlights started on the opening day of the tournament, when Lasith Malinga said they were not up to international standard. It continued with Gautam Gambhir, Man of the Match in the gripping game against Pakistan, who said after the victory: "I wasn't able to pick the spinners at all, it was impossible to pick them from the hand. The light has to improve."

Sangakkara said the batsmen needed to be more watchful while batting under lights at Dambulla. "You can't exactly get into a rhythm as a batsman and keep hitting the ball the same way," he said. "You've got to watch the ball really closely and, with the lights, that's not an easy task once the colour goes off the ball."

Except in the final league game when Sangakkara experimented, all teams that have won the toss have decided to bat, wary of the bowler-friendly conditions and light later in the day.

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo