Colombo: Sri Lankan authorities are investigating a bid to persuade members of the national cricket team to under-perform in a recent Test to ensure a surprise victory for the West Indies, the government said Friday.
Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera said a man linked to a bookmaker had approached wicketkeeper Kusal Perera and star bowler Rangana Herath to engineer a Sri Lankan batting collapse at a Test in Galle in October, which the hosts went on to win emphatically.
"After Kusal turned down the offer, the man approached Herath who also rejected the offer and alerted the authorities," Jayasekera told AFP. "We have started a police inquiry in addition to an anti-corruption probe by Sri Lanka Cricket," he added in reference to the national cricket board.
Sri Lanka beat the tourists by an innings and six runs after left-arm spinner Herath took 10 wickets in the match on the country`s south coast. Jayasekera also suggested that Perera`s recent failure in a doping test may have been because he raised the alarm over the match-fixing attempt.
"It is possible that something was slipped into his food or his urine sample was tampered with to get this result," Jayasekera said. "We are doing our best to defend him."
Ashley de Silva, the chief executive of Sri Lanka Cricket, said the board could not discuss the case in line with International Cricket Council (ICC) anti-corruption regulations. "Because of the anti-corruption regulations, we cannot say anything," de Silva told AFP.
However a source in the board confirmed that the organisation was conducting its own investigation into the claims. "The two players brought this to our notice," said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity.