Immediately after arriving at the R Premadasa Stadium for training on Monday, Kiwi coach John Wright headed towards the square and had a close look at the wicket.
Moments later, as skipper Daniel Vettori joined him in the middle, the duo had a brief chat, looking visibly upset about something.
"They have told us we are playing on the same wickets as England, which is very surprising," Vettori said. "Playing a World Cup semifinal on a used wicket…we thought it was mandatory to prepare fresh wicket."
An ICC spokesperson, however, clarified there's no such rule and selection of the wicket was "entirely up to the venue officials in adherence with the ICC guidelines."
With Sri Lanka having crushed England three days ago, it wasn't surprising that the home team and the ground staff chose the same strip for Tuesday's tie. But Sri Lanka Cricket's chief curator Anuruddha Polonowitha defended his decision as a "fair" call. "I know the wickets best and the call is mine. I have chosen the most fair strip," he said. "And anyway, this is only the second match on this wicket. The quarterfinal was the first one."
While it was confirmed that the Sri Lankan team management had made their preference known for the same wicket, an insider revealed that there wasn't much to choose between the two wickets. "The other wicket used for Pakistan-Australia game had uneven bounce. So, it was decided to go ahead with the one used for quarters match."