The roof on a makeshift grandstand at Galle International Stadium has collapsed due to heavy rain and wind, delaying the start of play between Sri Lanka and Australia.
Rain began falling about 90 minutes before the scheduled first ball on day two of the first Test on Thursday, with wild gusts blowing in off the coastline.
Ground staff managed to keep the entire ground covered as the rain blew in sideways.
But corrugated iron sheets secured by ropes covering the small concreted seating area on the eastern side of the ground blew off as the wind continued. The entire roof buckled, leaving officials pondering how to secure the metal before play could begin.
There were no spectators in the stand at the time, and initial reports were that no one was injured. The collapse happened minutes after Australia’s team arrived at the ground.
Rain also continued to fall past the scheduled start of play of 10am local time, as ground staff struggled to keep the entire outfield covered while the strong winds blew.
Tyres were used to keep some sections of tarpaulin down on the ground. However, other pieces covering the outfield were blown away.
A glazed wall in a marquee had also toppled on the sidelines, while another shot showed the ground’s makeshift sightscreen stripped of its covering.
The Test match is being played in the middle of the monsoon season in Galle, which is in Sri Lanka’s south-west.
Australia faces a crucial first hour of play on Thursday after going to stumps at 3-98 in reply to Sri Lanka’s 212.
Only bad weather can prevent a result in the match with 13 wickets falling on day one. A three-day Test is predicted due to the pitch conditions.