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Sri Lanka skipper questioned in fixing probe

Mathews said the police Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) recorded a statement about what he knew of an approach to two Sri Lankan players to arrange a shock defeat at the hands of the West Indies at Galle last October.

“This is about a player approach, no investigation against any of the cricketers,” Mathews said after spending over five hours at the FCID office in Colombo.

He said he was questioned about what he knew of the approach made to Kusal Perera and Rangana Herath, to fix the result of a Test played at the Galle International stadium.

The two players refused the offer of some $70,000 and Sri Lanka beat the tourists by an innings and six runs after veteran left-arm spinner Herath took 10 wickets.

Mathews said it was the players themselves who had reported the approach. However, the police investigation was launched after Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera lodged a formal complaint.

On Monday the Sri Lanka cricket board suspended its fast bowling coach Anusha Samaranayake for two months and sacked a part-time employee, net bowler Gayan Vishwajith, for their alleged roles in trying to bribe players.

The FCID has already recorded statements from wicketkeeper Perera and Herath over the incident.

Sports Minister Jayasekera told AFP last month that an unnamed man linked to a bookmaker had offered the two players some 10 million rupees (around $70,000) to lose the match.

The West Indies, who have never won a Test match in Sri Lanka and went on to lose the two-match series 2-0, were rank outsiders for the showdown in Galle.

Betting is illegal in most of the cricket-mad Indian subcontinent, but backstreet bookmakers — many of whom have links to the underworld — still flourish.

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.



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