Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Dambulla back on the map

Good news reaches Nutley concerning the return of international cricket to the controversial Dambulla stadium, north of Colombo.
The stadium has been starved of cricket for two years after a dispute between Sri Lanka cricket and the country's buddhist ministry, who claimed that the monks who owned the land the stadium was built on did not have the right to lease it.
The usual shenanigans occurred thereafter, when allegations of financial irregularities against former SL Cricket president Thilanga Sumathipala filled newspapers. But it is thanks to him that the ground was built.
It actually only took 167 days to build the 30,000-seater stadium in the middle of the jungle - not bad when you consider it also took 30 days to ship over the steelworks and the project members had never met before.
At a cost of under GBP3 million, it is also a first-class venue with awesome views of the surrounding area from the press box. The Nutley attended the inaugural game there in 2001, when England were shot out for 90-odd. As the sun went down, to the left of the ground hot air balloons ascended over the nearby lake and jungle.
England play a few ODI's there this winter.