ECB defends Sri Lanka tour schedule during monsoon season

First three ODIs have been affected by rain

ECB defends Sri Lanka tour schedule during monsoon season PHOTO: AFP

The England and Wales Cricket Board has defended the decision to tour Sri Lanka during the monsoon season, saying the hectic international schedule left very little "wriggle room".

England's first three One-Day Internationals in Sri Lanka have been affected by rain with the first match in Dambulla abandoned, while the tourists won the second game by 31 runs on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method.

The third match in Kandy, which England won by seven wickets on Wednesday, was delayed by six hours due to persistent rain and reduced to 21-overs each side.

"After hosting England, Sri Lanka spend the rest of the 18-19 season touring New Zealand, Australia and South Africa," the ECB said in a statement. "They play their first match in New Zealand on December 8, which left very little wriggle room given our final Test in Sri Lanka finishes on November 29.”

"The Future Tours Programme is congested ... so there are unfortunately a number of tours that have to take place outside prime match-staging periods."

Eoin Morgan's side will play further ODI matches against Sri Lanka on Saturday and Tuesday, before a T20I game in Colombo on October 27. England will then face the hosts in a three-Test series, which begins in Galle on November 6.