Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) on Monday issued an apology for inadequate crowd control measures during their third One-Day International against Australia in Dambulla.
Australia won a close contest by two wickets at the Rangiri Stadium on Sunday to pull ahead 2-1 in the five-match series. The fourth match is also to be held at Dambulla on Wednesday.
Over-enthusiastic cricket fans climbed trees, walls and scaffolding to get a glimpse of the match and, according to SLC’s estimates, around 45,000 people thronged the venue which has a capacity of only 18,000.
Part of the overzealousness is believed to be the fact that it was the first day-night One-Day International at the venue in six years, Cricket Australia said in a report on its website on Monday.
Fans sought unusual spots around the ground to view the proceedings. Those with reserved seating at the Press Box End found themselves in much discomfort as officials struggled to manage the demands of the ever-growing crowd.
“Sri Lanka Cricket sincerely wishes to announce that it regrets the inconvenience caused to the ticket holders and cricket fans who could not get to their allocated seats at yesterday’s 3rd ODI match played in Dambulla,” SLC said in a statement.
“Having the capacity of accommodating 18,000 spectators, over 45,000 cricket fans attended the match as per the SLC security estimates. Therefore, the security staff and the ushering teams lost the crowd control systems which was in place to assist the spectators as usual.”
“Due to the above situation, contingency measures were taken to protect the playing area and the two teams, which was considered as a priority for the continuation of the game,” it added.
“SLC wishes to state that it will take adequate measures to ensure that proper security and ushering will be in place for the upcoming matches and apologise once again for the inconvenience caused to our fans.”