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Sri Lanka probes bid to fix West Indies Test

Island nation’s cricket authorities investigate match fixing claims after ’keeper Kusal Perera and spinner Rangana Herath were approached by a bookie to fix the Galle Test against West Indies

Colombo: Sri Lankan authorities are investigating a bid to bribe members of the national cricket team to under-perform in a recent Test to ensure a surprise victory for the West Indies, the government said yesterday.

Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera said a man linked to a bookmaker had offered wicketkeeper Kusal Perera and star bowler Rangana Herath tens of thousands of dollars to engineer a Sri Lankan batting collapse at a Test in Galle in October, which the hosts went on to win emphatically.

Rangana Herath bowls during the first Test against New Zealand in Dunedin last week. PIC/Getty Images
Rangana Herath bowls during the first Test against New Zealand in Dunedin last week. PIC/Getty Images

"They wanted Sri Lanka to get out early for a very low score. This is a match Sri Lanka was expected to win, but if they lost, the bookie would have made a lot of money," Jayasekera told AFP.

The minister said some 10 million rupees (around $70,000) had been offered to the players to lose the match. Police had mounted a search for the suspect who was said to have approached the two players. “After Kusal turned down the offer, the man approached Herath who also rejected the offer and alerted the authorities,” he said.

"We have started a police inquiry in addition to an anti-corruption probe by Sri Lanka Cricket," Jayasekera added, in reference to the national cricket board.

Kusal Perera
Kusal Perera 

Sri Lanka beat the tourists from the Caribbean by an innings and six runs after veteran left-arm spinner Herath took 10 wickets in the match on the country’s south coast. The West Indies, who have never won a Test match in Sri Lanka and went on to lose the two-match series 2-0, were rank outsiders for the showdown in Galle where the home team have a particularly strong record.

Dope linked to fixing?
Jayasekera also suggested that Perera’s recent failure in a doping test during the ongoing tour of New Zealand may have been linked to his raising the alarm over the match fixing attempt. “It is possible that something was slipped into his food or his urine sample was tampered with to get this result,” Jayasekera said. 

How the galle test unfolded

>> The first of the two-Test match series between Sri Lanka and West Indies was played at the Galle International Stadium from October 14-17.

>> Sri Lankan spinner Rangana Herath’s 10-wicket match haul helped the hosts beat West Indies by an innings and six runs inside four days.

>> Batting first, Sri Lanka scored 484. The visitors were asked to follow on after being bowled out for 251 in the first innings.

>> West Indies could only manage 227 in their second essay.

>> Wicketkeeper Kusal Perera scored 23 and accounted for five dismissals in the match

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