Galle: Sri Lanka's cricket chiefs have angered fans by adopting a 10-fold increase in ticket prices for the Test series against England starting on Monday.
Daily tickets have been priced at 5,000 and 7,500 Sri Lankan rupees ($39 dollars and $58 dollars), as compared to the 500 rupees charged for the previous home series against Australia last year.
"Feelings are running high in some quarters," Barmy Army member Giles Wellington said. "We know we are lucky to be here, but we don't want to feel we are being ripped off."
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) officials admitted the prices for the two-Test series are higher than before, but refuted suggestions that England fans were being charged more than their local counterparts.
"Yes, there is a substantial increase from previous tours and the World Cup, but it's the same for everyone," said SLC secretary Nishantha Ranatunga. "Sri Lankans are not paying less."
"We need to develop the game of cricket in Sri Lanka so whenever there is an opportunity and a demand for tickets it is our policy to put prices up. We will get the best deal."
Ranatunga, younger brother of Sri Lanka's lone World Cup winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga, said the high prices would not deter local fans.
"We have seen a lot of Sri Lankans buying tickets at this price," he said. "There's a demand for them."
If the match lasts all five days, it could cost a fan 25,000 rupees ($193 dollars) - the amount a low-level government official earns a month in Sri Lanka.
The SLC reportedly ran up debts of around $69 million after it built two new stadiums in Hambantota and Pallekele, and renovated the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, for the 2011 World Cup.