Sri Lanka Cricket on Sunday suspended a player and a groundsman who allegedly agreed to tamper with the pitch to alter the result of an upcoming Test against England, as police launched an investigation into the claims.
The Sri Lankan board (SLC) said it had suspended the curator of the Galle International Stadium as well as a professional player, who were featured in an Al Jazeera documentary on corruption in cricket.
The board also lodged a complaint with the local police, who launched a criminal investigation into the scandal exposed by the Doha-based television network.
“Sri Lanka Cricket decided to suspend with immediate effect the alleged individuals involved in the said incident against whom the ICC is carrying out investigations,” the board said.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) said on Saturday it was investigating allegations involving the two Sri Lankans and a former Indian player, urging “all evidence and supporting material” to be shared with the investigators.
Tharindu Mendis, a player from Colombo, and Tharanga Indika, the curator of the Galle International Stadium, were featured in the documentary broadcast on Sunday, which showed them talking about doctoring pitches during a meeting with an undercover reporter.
The men were reportedly discussing ways to prepare the pitch to ensure that the first Test at the Galle ground in November against England would not end in a draw and would yield a result in less than four days.
SLC said it has appointed a three-member panel to study the issue and make recommendations to prevent any corruption at future tournaments in Sri Lanka.
A former curator of the Galle International Stadium, Jayananda Warnaweera, is already under an ICC ban for three years until January 2019 for failing to cooperate with a previous anti-corruption investigation.
Warnaweera, a former Test player, had failed to attend interviews with the ICC’s anti-corruption unit. He had been previously handed a two-year ban by the local board over the same allegations.
Sri Lankan players and umpires have been accused of match fixing in the past, but Warnaweera is the highest ranking official punished so far.
Although no big-name Sri Lankan player has ever been convicted of corruption, several former stars have made allegations of either match fixing or spot-fixing – when players deliberately bowl or field badly to give away a set number of runs.