What a great test match!!! Unfortunately England came off worse but it was still an enthralling game. England have never won a test match in Galle so it wasn't unexpected. In typical England fashion though, they gave us a glimmer of hope on the fourth day when Trott and Prior were going nicely trying to chase down 339.
There's been a real furore over the ticket prices here as Sri Lankan Cricket decided to charge one price for Sri Lankans (free or next to nothing) and one price for the English (£25 per day). You can read more details here
Luckily, in Galle, you can watch from the fort for nothing and the view is fantastic. We walked into the ground on Day 1 and didn't pay a rupee but the security was tightened up for Day 2 so the fort it was. The atmosphere up there was great. Some estimates have said there are 8-9,000 England fans here so everywhere is pretty busy. I think the Sri Lankans have shot themselves in the foot as some people have said they won't come back. One of the attractions of watching cricket in the sub-continent is that it is cheap to get in whereas a test match at Lord's will cost at least £90 per day.
England fans on the fort
Teresa on the Fort
Our view of the cricket from the Fort
It's been incredibly hot and we seem to get burnt even when wearing t-shirts and using an umbrella and it really takes it out of you when sat in it all day.
Unawatuna is about 3km from Galle. You can get an auto-rickshaw for around SLR300 or the bus for SLR19. The exchange rate is dead good at the moment; around SLR200 to the pound so it's quite cheap (it was SLR175 only two months ago). A 1000 rupee note is roughly a fiver which makes it easy to work out how much things cost and how much we are spending.
Galle Old Town, which is inside the fort, is very nice although we haven't explored it much as it's just too hot in the daytime. We're going to have a look around tonight when it's a bit cooler.
Galle Old Town
The beach here is superb. We have never seen the sea that colour. You usually see it airbrushed in on a glossy photo but it really is that gorgeous turquoise colour. Today we are going to a nearby beach - Wijaya - it has a reef which creates a lagoon in the bay apparently. Will post a picture of it soon.
Tomorrow we are going to Colombo for the second test match (Stuart Broad out injured). It will take around 3 hours on the bus to go only 115kms (SLR275). It wasn't a pleasant journey down last time after getting off the plane with heavy luggage in the middle of the day. Hopefully it will be easier tomorrow.
If the ticket prices for the game are still high, we may not go to all days. There will be no vantage point to see the ground from like Galle. I can see the ground being half empty. A lot of the England fans will have come on organised tour packages costing upwards of £2000 so they will have tickets included in the price I expect. Those, like us, who have "done it ourselves" haven't budgeted for it so will probably watch it on TV.
All the best
Phil & T x