Zimbabwe in Sri Lanka 2017 June 17, 2017

Galle to host first ODI since 2000 on Zimbabwe visit

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Galle will host its first ODI since 2000 when Zimbabwe arrives at the end of June © AFP

ODI cricket is set to return to Galle after a 17-year hiatus, with the first two of Zimbabwe's five ODIs to be played there on June 30 and July 2. This is Zimbabwe's first bilateral tour of Sri Lanka since a two-ODI, three-Test tour took place in December 2001-January 2002.

A total of seven ODIs have been played in Galle, but none since July 6, 2000 when Sri Lanka beat South Africa by 37 runs during a tri-series that also included Pakistan.

Hambantota Stadium, which has not seen international cricket itself for two years, will host the three remaining one-dayers. A one-off Test to follow the ODIs is scheduled in Colombo at the R Premadasa Stadium (Khettarama) - also an unusual venue for that format, which normally only hosts limited-overs matches. The last Test played at the R Premadasa Stadium was the second Test against Bangladesh in March 2013 when Rangana Herath 12 for 157 in a seven-wicket win.

Although Galle had fallen out of favour as an ODI venue because it has no floodlights, and also due to limited capacity, SLC has seen it a fitting venue for the lower-profile Zimbabwe games partly perhaps for financial reasons. Day-night matches are costlier to host - and in this case, the size of the venue may translate to a marketing advantage. Earlier in the year, in hosting an ODI at the SSC, the board CEO said that smaller venues looked livelier on television, for matches at which fewer spectators were expected at the ground.

That logic, however, does not hold for the hosting of the Test at Khettarama, which is the highest-capacity stadium in the country.

The Zimbabwe tour spans from June 30 to July 18 and features no T20 internationals.

India are expected to arrive for a three Test tour later in July. The scheduling of that tour is still being finalised.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • CRICFAN564789 on June 21, 2017, 16:10 GMT

    There are 10 odis coming up within next 2 months apart from 4 test matches. Realistically thinking about this hectic schedule & physical fitness of some guys, I wonder how many players would be fit enough to take up this physical endurance? Certainly Mathews & Malinga are more vulnerable to aggravate their long recurring injuries apart from guys like lakmal etc. It is better to have a big set of standbys or limit their matches against Zmb to preserve them for the big challenge Vs India. Chandimal should be given a last chance in Odis to show some improvement in his approach with substantial improvement in his Strike Rates & consistent Productivity showing match winning intentions, rather than personal scores.

  • Udendra on June 21, 2017, 10:52 GMT

    They should have hosted the Test match at Dambulla. That would have drawn some crowds.

  • slbrand on June 21, 2017, 6:22 GMT

    April and December are pretty rainy to my experience, and worst of all April is quite dangerous to play cricket because of strong lightning (more so with dew on the ground in a wide open field). I just checked climate reports for Colombo and Kandy (distrusting my own experience), and according to them, daily averages in these cities in the past few years only differ by 1 degrees of celsius between January-February and July-August -- so, not much of a difference although about a decade and a half ago Kandy was much cooler than it is now. However, daytime during January is much hotter, although nights are more cooler (compared to July-August). This is why I think cricket is better suited for July-August (also school holidays here fall on August). Cheers!

  • RohanMarkJay on June 20, 2017, 16:13 GMT

    @slbrand Actually you are wrong, the weather in Sri Lanka is actually hotter between May-September in Sri Lanka. I think you say it is cooler because, it is also the rainy season in the south west in this period which makes it cooler. On average the temperature is colder between December-May even though there is less rain. Because the sometimes the northern hemisphere winter winds reach down to Sri Lanka during this period to make it more colder. I agree it is more pleasant in July-August because it rains a lot during this period and the sun is kept out. So overall July-August is more comfortable from the heat because of the high precipitation south west coast monsoon which hits the Island during the middle of the year. South West of the Island is where most of Sri Lanka's international cricket venues are. However I doubt you can get much cricket in without rain affecting it. That is why the Sri Lanka's School Boy big match cricket season is between December to April due to less rain.

  • cricfan1244731839 on June 20, 2017, 12:18 GMT

    How truly the minister of sports has castigated our players with lack of fitness. he has told if someone can't run until at least he gets to fifty, to send him off home. players can't hold catches because tummy is sticking out, he said. the selectors should take note what the minister has told.

  • cricfan6333045728 on June 20, 2017, 11:29 GMT

    I am Sri Lankan. I think our "young" team has great talent. This includes the much derided Chandimal. Please give him few months with the team without threatening his position in the team. He has yet time to develop into a great batsman now that he has no responsibilities behind the wickets as well. We must pay particular attention to our fielding too and get ourselves up to international standards from being like school boys on the field. Lakshman.

  • Indian_Pakku on June 20, 2017, 7:54 GMT

    If Sri Lanka win all 5 matches they will get 1 more point and move to rank 7.

  • CRICFAN564789 on June 19, 2017, 16:22 GMT

    @cricfan1244731839 :

    Oh yeah.! SL should go back again to the single-digit Gate-opening era 2013-2017... disrupting the best productive SL openers (UT/ND 1st wkt partnerships record so far: 5 ings together -> 338 runs @ 67.60 Average /Highest stand 139 & 2x50+ stands). Both openers lead SL's Odi batting Av in 2017.

    This opening combination (most experienced 14-ton maker UT & hard hitting consistent youngster ND) found, after 3 yrs of ICC-Rankings dwindled futile experiments done with "Flat-track-Openers" who scarcely bloom even on homely decks (DhanushlkaG: 20 Odis /509 r@ 25 Av - KusalJPerera : 68 Odis /1635 r@ 26 Av - DdeS : 15 Odis /334 r@ 25 Av / DimuthK: 17 Odis/190 r @ 15 Av) .!

    Give another run to Open without a break, to match winning dolly dropped excellent fielder, considering his bowling abilities and forgetting his inconsistency or survival inability on lively decks batting at top... until SL learn the lesson in hardest way, as seen with "Opener" KJP :))

  • cricfan1244731839 on June 19, 2017, 14:56 GMT

    sl should stick with the opening pair of dickwella & danushka. they are young and danushka is a good fielder. danushka give a lot to the team also as a spinner. he should be now given a run without a break to develop his confidence with the aim towards wc2019.

  • Gforcebuster on June 19, 2017, 14:10 GMT

    Look at how Pk accomplished the mission impossible, rising from dead. SL had the potential to do it, if not for 3 reasons:

    1) Boon's axe didn't cut the most consistent SL run-maker UT at top.

    2) If middle-order 4 guys didn't fail to collect 96 to win the 1st odi vs SA, after ND/UT gave the upfront launching pad sitting pretty @ 94/1 in 11 ov @ 9 runs/ov, after restricting SA to 299 runs

    3) If not for poor batting started from 1st wkt (DG-13/DC-0/DdeS- 1) ended up with a sorry 236, SL should have made at least 260+ on a deck worth 280+ runs (SL sadly felt the absence of in-form Opener UT's upfront serves to put up a huge score with ND who made 70). Despite poor fielding lapses SL would have still won that if managed a target beyond 260! SL batters were lucky enough to win the vital toss V Ind on a batting DECK rated as LEAST DIFFICULT in the CT tournament (deck rated less than 3 in difficulty level scale of 10) to chase 321, despite Mathews WASTING 7ovs of Asela-1wkt @2.33 rpo

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