Colombo - Sri Lanka is to deploy game wardens to stop wild
elephants straying onto the pitch when the country hosts Zimbabwe for a series
of one-day internationals at the Hambantota stadium.
Experts will be on hand for all three ODI games at the 35
000-capacity stadium, which is next to an elephant sanctuary, a wildlife
official said on Monday.
The stadium was built in 2009 under former president Mahinda
Rajapakse, who was from Hambantota, but has hosted only a handful of matches
because of its remote location and high maintenance costs.
"There had been a few instances when elephants broke
through the fence and invaded the pitch at night," said the official, who
asked not to be named.
"A jungle patch starts about 100 metres from the
stadium and we are deploying 10 wardens to make sure that fans don't stray into
that area and provoke the elephants," he said by telephone from
He said there was a herd of about 25 elephants roaming the
area, 240 kilometres south of Colombo, posing a potential threat to fans.
It is not the first time wildlife has disrupted games at
Hambantota - swarms of wasps that have taken up residence there have also
The last ODI played at Hambantota was two years ago.
Following a recent refurbishment, Sri Lanka Cricket scheduled the final three
ODI matches against Zimbabwe at Hambantota.
The games will decide the series winner after the two sides
notched a victory each in the first two games played at Galle.