The forecast had been bleak for a week before the opening game at the Dambulla Stadium and the portents were not good during a drizzly drive from Colombo to the only venue purposefully built in the island’s ‘dry-belt’ region enabling the national team to fulfill its international commitments during the monsoon season. Judging by the density of greenness of the vegetation surrounding the stadium, ‘dry-belt’ is a strictly relative term.
Hotel breakfast is served outdoors under a thatched roof which looks and feels like the sun has set 15 minutes earlier given the darkness of the skies and the lighting. It doesn’t feel like 8:30 in the morning. If you don’t do eggs then it’s fruit or cereal. Fortunately the fruit is, as always, fresh and delicious and there is a lady chef who makes the best omelette in town. I assume. Chili omelette. Wakes you up.
As did the monkeys at the Golden Temple right next door. They’re not just ‘tame’, they’re pushy. Like, you’re a tourist and you’re supposed to give us fruit – what the hell? Where’s the mango?
The weather forecast changed in the 12 hours before the first ODI suggesting an almost divine window of dryness coinciding exactly with the hours of play, but it changed its mind, again. After six hours of dry, warm sunshine and 15 overs of play, the rain returned. The ground staff – all 120 of them – did their best but it was saturated and hopeless. Eion Morgan and Dinesh Chandimal were both desperate to get their teams on the field but it was hazardous. It was dangerous to walk carefully on the outfield in flip flops.
On TalkSport we talked, and talked. And Talked, for five hours. There was a belief, or hope, that if we stayed on air, meteorological fortunes would change. The same hope remains for Saturdays second ODI.
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