Sri Lanka ''impatient'' to test Cup venues

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Colombo, Jan 21 (AFP) Sri Lanka are eager to test theisland''s new cricket venues ahead of next month''s World Cup,skipper Kumar Sangakkara said today.

Sri Lanka, who were runners-up in the last Cup in 2007,will stage 12 matches of the showpiece event, in Hambantota,Pallekele and Colombo. The remaining games will be held inIndia and Bangladesh.

"The Premadasa stadium (in Colombo) hosts most of our bigmatches," Sangakkara told reporters after a training sessionin Colombo.

"We are impatient to play there as well as at the othertwo venues to be able to get an understanding of how they areplaying, especially when it comes to fielding the rightcombinations."

The wicketkeeper-batsman said the players were keen tosee how the wickets would behave under lights to discover the"idiosyncrasies" of defending or chasing totals and the dewfactor.

The Premadasa and Hambantota venues will be tested whenSri Lanka host the West Indies for three one-dayers that wererescheduled due to heavy rains in December last year. Thefirst match starts in Hambantota on January 31.

"It will be interesting to see what challenges theypresent. Playing on these grounds with the West Indies willgive us an idea of what to expect and how to prepare for theWorld Cup," said Sangakkara.

The venues were officially handed over to anInternational Cricket Council (ICC) inspection team this week.

Sri Lanka Cricket secretary Nishantha Ranatunga said theICC team were "pleased" with the venues.

Sri Lanka are placed in Pool A with defending championsAustralia, Pakistan, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Canada,with the top four sides making it to the quarter-finals.

The tournament starts in Dhaka on February 19. (AFP) CM

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