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Sri Lanka v England 3rd Test

Play gets under way at Galle
Galle stages its first Test match since the 2004 tsunami
The first Test match to be played at Galle since the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami got under way at 0630 GMT on Tuesday.

The umpires delayed the start of England's final Test against Sri Lanka by two hours on Monday because of heavy rain in the build-up to the match.

Further showers overnight threatened the revised start but the covers did their job and the players took to the field for the historic match.

Officials had also faced a battle to get the reconstructed ground ready.

The stadium was destroyed by the tsunami, which killed an estimated 31,000 people in Sri Lanka.

Hundreds of labourers were drafted in to ensure the ground, which has been rebuilt from scratch, was completed in time.


Sri Lanka president Mahinda Rajapaksa officially re-opened the stadium on Monday.

Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene reflected: "A lot of people who probably saw us play here four years ago are not with us, so it is emotional.

"But, as a country, we moved forward very well after the tsunami, people have made a lot of leaps and bounds in their lives and so it is a celebration moment for a lot of us."

And Kevin Pietersen told BBC Sport on Sunday that England had a duty to ensure the match went ahead despite concerns about the state of the ground.

Galle stadium
The ground was looking in bad shape on Saturday

He said: "The wicket was under water three years ago and there's a bigger picture than cricket here.

"We're out there to play a game, to hopefully bring cricket back to Galle and really enjoy the occasion because it will be a great occasion for the city."

The stadium had been due to host the first Test of the series but that was changed because of delays with the reconstruction.

With a historic Dutch-built fort as its backdrop and views of the ocean, Galle has frequently been described as one of the most beautiful grounds in the world.

England need to win the match to draw the series after Sri Lanka won the first Test and drew the second.

Galle's recovery in photos
15 Dec 07 |  Cricket
Harmison leads England fightback
18 Dec 07 |  England
Matt Prior column
17 Dec 07 |  England
England draw keeps series alive
13 Dec 07 |  England
Galle 'out of action for a year'
12 Jan 05 |  Sri Lanka
England in Sri Lanka 2007
25 Jun 07 |  Cricket


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