November 16, 2007

Sri Lankan cricket

Race to restore Galle to full glory

Martin Williamson
Shane Warne bowls with the famous fort in the background, Sri Lanka v Australia,  Galle, March 9, 2004
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The Daily Telegraph’s Tony Francis has been in Galle where the reconstruction of the cricket ground following the devastation of the 2004 tsunami is almost complete.

Only a couple of months ago, the ground on which Sri Lanka entertain England in the third Test next month reminded me of the horse-drawn section of the National Ploughing Championships after two Suffolk Punches had done their work.

And he reports that the venue now has a new indoor cricket centre with funds raised by a woman whose husband died in the disaster.

Julian Ayer was travelling by bus to watch his stepson play for Harrow School at the start of their Sri Lanka tour when the vehicle was submerged on its way to the stadium. Ayer was reported to have helped his wife off the bus but was unable to save himself. His widow was so distressed by the plight of other bereaved families in Sri Lanka's worst affected region that she donated £50,000 to Galle Cricket Club, believing that sport would give destitute youngsters something to cling to.

Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

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