Sri Lanka, England to play 2nd ODI as scheduled
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka and England will go ahead with their second one-day international as scheduled on Saturday following the death of Australia batsman Phillip Hughes.
Both teams discussed whether they should play, and decided they should in respect for Hughes, England captain Alastair Cook said on Friday.
“It was a really, really sad day yesterday. Tragic day for cricket, and words that I say here aren’t going to do any justice really,” Cook said. “I know discussions were on whether we should be playing tomorrow. Both sides agreed to have respect; we should carry on playing tomorrow. Show respect in the right way for Phil.”
Hughes died in hospital on Thursday after he was hit behind his left ear by a short-pitched delivery in a domestic match in Sydney.
Sri Lanka and England will observe a two-minute silence on Saturday, and sport black armbands.
“We never expect a thing like this to happen when we bowl a bouncer,” Sri Lanka captain and fast bowler Angelo Mathews said.
“We pray that we never hear of something like this ever again.”
Cook said he remembered Hughes as an outstanding young talent who shared with him a common interest in farming.
“I remember talking to him a fair bit after the series in 2013 ... both being left-handed opening batsmen, we went about things in different ways, but picked each other’s brains. His love for farming as well with his cattle, gave us some ground to talk on.”
Mathews recalled Hughes’ ODI century on debut against Sri Lanka in Melbourne last year. His 112 runs opening the batting set up a big win for Australia.
“It will be very hard to get over; he’s a wonderful, humble guy, and a gentleman,” Mathews said.
The captains said the tragedy was unlikely to change their approach to the game, but called for improved safety.
“This is a really tragic accident. I don’t think we should change the way cricket is played,” Cook said.
“We have got to make sure that we keep working as hard as we can, manufacturers and authorities, to make cricket as safe as you can. This is a real reminder to everyone that they can’t take anything for granted.”
Mathews added, “What we as players can ask for is improved protective gear.”
Sri Lanka won the first of seven ODIs by 25 runs on Wednesday.