An England cricket fan waited for 10 months in Sri Lanka to see his team play, but was saved by the police even before a ball was bowled in the first Test on Thursday. Rob Lewis, who decided to stay in the country after the original tour on Coronovirus last March, had to resort to sub-shelter to get a glimpse into the day’s play. Lewis was ordered to close from the historic ramparts of the Gaal Fort, a vantage point that overlooks the city’s cricket ground after the national anthem. The game was held behind closed doors due to the epidemic.
Lewis told AFP, “I’m very disappointed. I waited 10 months to watch this match and the police kicked me out.”
“At least I managed to sing ‘Jerusalem’,” he said.
Hours after receiving his marching orders, Lewis returned from the field to another area of another fort, but still had a view of the game.
“Back to the fort because I work here now,” he said without giving an explanation on Twitter, though he wore a tight cap and a fluorescent safety jacket over his England T-shirt.
He put up three banners, one of which belonged to the Burmese army, as is known to supporters of England, and another to a charity helping stray dogs in Sri Lanka. But he was also taken away by the authorities.
While living in Sri Lanka, Lewis worked remotely as a web designer and as a nightclub.
He visited Galle Fort on Saturday to outline his plans as it became clear that no spectators would be allowed to visit the grounds.
Lewis said that he had already been warned that they would only have limited access to the ramparts.
“They gave me half an hour to put up three banners and go,” Lewis said.
“There will be another nine days of play and I hope to be able to get permission to go there again.”
The Sri Lankan police barred all visitors from the 16th-century ramparts, a magnet for locals who refrain from paying for tickets, officially for security reasons.
But some journalists were allowed to cover the match from the fort.
Fans and media were forced out of the stadium due to coronovirus, which infected more than 50,000 people and killed around 250 people in the South Asian nation.
Sri Lankan journalist Rex Clementine extended the ramparts to maintain his record of covering every Test in Sri Lanka since 2000.
“I want to maintain my record, even if they don’t allow journalists to field,” he said.
Soldiers and security personnel in the Hazmat suit were deployed around the stadium and some people were allowed inside.
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