Sri Lanka replace Zimbabwe with 2009 tour of England

LONDON, July 8, 2008 (AFP) – Sri Lanka will play two Tests and three one-day internationals in England next April and May, stepping into the fixture gap created by England’s decision to break off cricket relations with Zimbabwe. Dates for the tour were announced on Tuesday by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

David Collier, the ECB chief executive, voiced his delight over the Sri Lankans willingness to step in and ensure England will have a full warm-up for the Ashes series against Australia later in the summer.

Collier said: “The strong and close relationship which we built up during our recent winter tours to Sri Lanka allowed the ECB, at short notice, to be able to approach Sri Lanka and confirm their availability for the international matches in the early part of next summer.”

England cut off cricket relations with Zimbabwe last month following the re-election of President Robert Mugabe in polls marred by intimidation and ballot-rigging.

Sri Lanka tour dates, 2009

April 21-23 v Leicestershire (Leicester)

April 25-27 v Essex (Chelmsford)

April 29-May 3 v England Lions (Derby)

May 7-11 1st Test (Lord?s)

May 15-19 2nd Test (Chester-le-Street)

May 21 v Somerset (Taun