Sri Lanka switches venues for 2nd cricket test vs Pakistan

GALLE, Sri Lanka (AP) — Logistical challenges caused by Sri Lanka’s economic and political crisis forced cricket organizers to move the second cricket test against Pakistan from Colombo to Galle.

Sri Lanka Cricket announced the decision Monday, on Day 3 of the first test, after deciding not to take any chances with potential political protests in the capital. The protests are likely to intensify as Parliament is set to choose a new President later this week.

Ranil Wickremesinghe, who became acting President last week after Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled abroad and resigned after months-long mass protests over the country’s economic collapse, has declared a state of emergency.

The second test was scheduled to start at R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo next Sunday. Now both teams will remain in the southern coastal town of Galle after the first test to play out the series.

The hotel in Colombo that had been set to host both cricket teams is close to the Presidential Palace that has been taken over by protesters.

Sri Lanka is experiencing its worst economic crisis since independence, with severe shortages of essential items such as fuel, cooking gas and medicine.

Cricket has offered a small distraction for local fans, with the Sri Lankan team finishing off an extended tour by Australia with a big, series-leveling win in a test match at Galle last week.

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