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Sri Lanka Tour to UK. April 2004

Some fantastic indoor cricket has been played around the UK recently, during Sri Lanka's short, week long tour.

There were three warm up games and three Test Matches in total. The crowds at Derby, Ipswich and Cradley Heath were given plenty to talk about as they witnessed Sri Lanka's first tour to Britain. England were determined to get revenge for a 3-0 reverse of their score in Columbo two years ago.

Following a narrow 9 run warm up defeat to a spirited midlands select team at Cradley Heath, Sri Lanka settled down in the midlands and approached the second warm up game at Derby with optimism. The visitors won this game well 95-27; although it was against a side stripped of six of its players selected for the England Squad. The night ended on a sour note due to the Sri Lankan bus being broken into and several personal bags and items stolen.

Then the moment all England fans had been waiting for arrived, the first Test. England v Sri Lanka, venue, Willows Derby.

This was a great game, see-sawing both ways, finally going to the home side by 10 runs, 92-82, much to the pleasure of the home fans. The evening was made complete by an impromptu "whip round" by the crowd to help cushion the blow suffered by the Sri Lankans' theft. Craig Slocombe, the Aussie born Sri Lankan coach, thanked the fans in his post match speech.

After Derby, it was on to Ipswich, on the east coast, to a warm up game and Test. The visitors had an easy warm up win, 21-123, against an Ipswich side deprived of several of their "National" squad.

With everything to play for in the second test, the players did not let the fans down. It was a hard fought and aggressive game. England won with a wide off the last ball giving them victory by 3 runs, 91-94.

With the series now in the bag, the Sri Lankan's only had pride to play for in the final test, held at Cradley Ball Park, West Midlands. They played with sheer determination and gusto, coming out with all guns blazing to win the last test by a victorious 117-76.

England had won their first Test Series since beating South Africa 3-0 in 1991.

Credit must go to the two international sides who both worked hard and entertained the crowds. They will both be hoping for similar performances come the World Cup, held in Columbo, Sri Lanka, later this year.

Photos from the series here

(Report, results and photographs kindly provided by two of Indoor Cricket World's long-standing friends, Alison and Barry McCormick. Alison and Barry are now Media Officers for the British Indoor Cricket Association, and Indoor Cricket World thanks both Ali and Baz and the BICA for the material)


Warm up games :

Stumps select 91, Sri Lanka 82

Derby select 27, Sri Lanka 95

Ipswich select 21, Sri Lanka 123

Test Matches :

1. England 92, Sri Lanka 82 -- Man of the Match: Ian Darlington, England.

2. England 94, Sri Lanka 91 -- Man of the Match: Gavin Driver, England.

3. England 76, Sri Lanka 117 -- Man of the Match: Roshan Weerasinghe, Sri Lanka.

England's Player of the Series: Jason Green (Stumps).

Sri Lanka's Player of the Series: Roshan Weerasinghe

2004 Alison and Barry McCormick, BICA. Used with permission.

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