Cricket allowed to open the gates for one-day series against Sri Lanka

England’s one-day international cricket series against Sri Lanka will take place in front of larger than expected crowds after being named as a Government test event.

Ready to attract the crowds: Sri Lanka players during the nets session at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff. Picture: PA
Ready to attract the crowds: Sri Lanka players during the nets session at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff. Picture: PA

Precise details on numbers have yet to be disclosed but next week’s games at Durham, The Oval and Bristol will not be subject to the current strict limits for outdoor events.

England have already played in one such pilot event, with over 17,000 daily fans allowed in for the Edgbaston Test against New Zealand.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The subsequent white-ball series against Pakistan is also due to be part of the Government’s ‘events research programme’, but work on the Sri Lanka fixtures is taking precedence.

The Olympic Rings: Organisers of the Tokyo Olympic Games have fixed spectator limits for the event at 50 per cent of a venue's capacity, up to a maximum of 10,000.

None of the three Twenty20 internationals against Sri Lanka, which take place this week, will feature expanded crowds, with the two Cardiff-based matches subject to the devolved Welsh Government and the final match at the Ageas Bowl not included in the trial.

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden said: “Summer is all about cricket and I’m delighted to be able to include England’s upcoming ODI and IT20 series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan in our pioneering events research programme.

“With thanks to our tremendous vaccine rollout and massive uptake of the NHS App we will be able to welcome back far greater numbers of cricket fans to Durham, Bristol and The Oval.

“We will continue to do everything we can to get as many as possible back watching live sport and cultural events as safely and as quickly as possible.”

Organisers of the Tokyo Olympic Games have fixed spectator limits for the event at 50 per cent of a venue’s capacity, up to a maximum of 10,000.

The decision was taken following a meeting involving local organisers, the International Olympic and Paralympic Committees, the Tokyo metropolitan government and the national government.

Japan’s top coronavirus advisor had told organisers on Friday that the best way to limit the risk of spread was to hold the events behind closed doors, but organisers have opted to follow the existing government limits for sports events in the country.

“In light of the government’s restrictions on public events, the spectator limit for the Olympic Games will be set at 50 per cent of venue capacity, up to a maximum of 10,000 people at all venues,” a statement from Tokyo 2020 read.

Spectators must refrain from shouting or speaking loudly, the statement said, and must travel direct to the venue and return immediately home afterwards.