England Cricket Tour to Sri Lanka 2018
Tour Inspection Report – Coming Soon!

Sri Lanka 2018 - Tour Inspection Report

Howzat Travel strongly believes in the importance of performing a pre-tour inspection on all elements of each upcoming tour. These trips enable us to visit each hotel and to make sure our itineraries and sightseeing options are to the highest possible standard.

Howzat Travel Managing Director Ian Kerr travelled to Sri Lanka in August 2017 to inspect and secure some of the best and newest accommodation in Galle, Kandy, Colombo and Dambulla.

Inspection Report

The Howzat Travel ‘Pre-Tour Inspection’ is something that we always look to do ahead of an upcoming cricket tour. These trips enable us to view each hotel and to make sure our itineraries and sightseeing options are to the highest possible standard.

I love Sri Lanka, this is possibly my favourite country the world over, so when the opportunity arose to perform this reconnaissance trip, my hand was first in the air. As Howzat Travel Company Director, I have been lucky enough to travel to this beautiful isle many times before, and I was just as excited for this visit as I was my first.

For those people already booked on this tour, this will give you a taste of what to expect and for those that are still considering booking, I hope this report will whet your appetite on what to expect when travelling to this beautiful Emerald Island.

Ian Kerr

Managing Director – Howzat Travel

 

General Notes

Visas

All British and Irish passport holders require a tourist visa to visit Sri Lanka; you should apply for your visa at www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/. It costs US $30 per application and is a simple online application. The website suggests you will receive a reply within 24 hours once you have submitted your application. However, our experience tells us your application should be approved almost instantly.

Tourist visas are normally issued for a maximum of 30 days.

Please have your passport and details of your first hotel booking handy when making the application. This can be found on your dashboard / tour invoice or the applicable web pages relating to your tour.

If you would like Howzat Travel to apply for the visa on your behalf, then a £50 per application fee applies.

 

Arrival Card

During your flight into Colombo the airline staff will provide you with an arrival card, which needs to be completed prior to arriving at immigration. The requested information includes your name, arriving flight information, passport information and also details of your first hotel. We suggest you keep a pen handy on the inbound flight to complete this form.

 

Passports
To enter Sri Lanka, your passport must be valid for a minimum period of six months from the date of exit from Sri Lanka.

Please be aware, if you are travelling onward to other countries in the region, you are advised that entry into some countries may be refused and airlines may not carry you, if your passport has less than six months validity. This also affects passengers transiting some countries en route to/from Sri Lanka (i.e. if they pass through immigration and enter the transit country), such as Dubai. For further information on entry requirements you should check with the Embassy or High Commission in London of the country you intend to visit/transit. More information if required, can be found on the website of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

 

Vaccinations
We cannot offer medical advice ourselves, so please make sure you have contacted your GP or local medical Centre prior to travelling – to discuss possible vaccinations you may require, and your own personal health in general.

 

Currency

The currency in Sri Lanka is the Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR). You can expect an exchange rate of approximately $190 -220 to the pound in the current financial climate. It’s likely you will be unable to purchase Sri Lankan Rupees before arriving into Sri Lanka, so our best advice would be to take some Pound Sterling and change this into local currency upon arrival in Colombo. There are at least four currency booths at Colombo airport that will change your money quickly and efficiently as you enter the arrivals terminal.

US Dollars (USD) are also widely accepted throughout Sri Lanka.

Remember to contact your card issuer before you leave for Sri Lanka. With banks and credit card companies more security-conscious than ever before, informing them beforehand that you intend to use your card abroad can save time, money and inconvenience once you are in Sri Lanka. You may also wish to use travellers cheques.

 

Weather

Sri Lankan weather is tropical with distinct dry and wet seasons and two monsoon seasons depending on where you are on island. Our advice is that it’s going to be hot and you are going to experience rain. You will be visiting Sri Lanka during the second inter-rainy season, so the monsoons should have passed but as always please remember to include the raincoat and jumpers for those cool or wet days.

 

Water

We would always recommend only drinking bottled water when in Sri Lanka and we advise that you buy and carry water with you at all times to ensure that you stay well hydrated in the heat.

 

Personal Safety
Sri Lanka is a safe country, but you should always take the necessary precautions as you would at home. If you don’t feel comfortable doing something, then don’t risk it. Here are a few common-sense tips:

  • Do not leave bags/briefcases/luggage or valuable items unattended.
  • Don’t carry large amounts of cash – carry travellers cheques or a card instead.
  • Leave passports/credit cards/valuables safely locked in the safe.
  • When swimming in the sea, only swim between red and yellow flags on patrolled beaches. We advise against swimming in the sea on non-patrolled beaches.

 

International flights

The majority of our travellers will be departing the UK from Heathrow, Gatwick, Birmingham, Manchester & Newcastle.  These notes are generic and apply to all travellers.

We recommend you give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport, bearing in mind it will be late in the year and travel conditions may be affected. Try to aim to get to the airport at least three hours before departure and maybe even consider staying at an airport hotel the night before.

Once you have checked in and passed through security, by all means enjoy the shops, bars and restaurants, but keep an eye on the information screens and make sure you allow at least 20 minutes to walk to your departure gate once your flight has been called for boarding.

 

Flights

Our preferred international airlines for our tours to Sri Lanka are Sri Lankan Airlines and Emirates, other airlines and options are available, please contact us for details.

Some airlines offer the facility to check-in online prior to travel. Check your ticket/e-ticket to see if you are able to do this.

Our Emirates flights are one-stop, with a short layover in Dubai after approximately 6 hours travel.

When you are in transit at your layover airport, ensure you pay attention and follow the signs to catch your second flight. Your checked baggage will make its own way to the second flight, so you can relax and stretch your legs.

With a total flying time of nearly 11 hours, we recommend that you wear comfortable clothing and take anything with you that will help you to make the flight more comfortable. Most airlines will supply blankets and eye masks, but you may wish to take an inflatable pillow to help you sleep. You may also wish to take precautions against deep vein thrombosis – like wearing special socks and making sure that you move around from time to time. You may wish to take your own entertainment such as books and magazines, but all airlines have their own on-board in-flight entertainment, which include movies, TV shows, music and games. Headphones are supplied but you can also use your own headphones/earphones if you prefer.

You will usually be served two meals during the flight, with alcoholic and soft drinks available for the duration of the flight.

Once you have collected your checked baggage from the carousel, make your way to the exit where a Howzat Travel representative will be clearly visible, and will direct you to your transport to transfer you to your hotel.

Galle

First Test Match

Galle is a major city in Sri Lanka and is situated on the southwestern tip, 119 km from Colombo. The city is the administrative capital of Southern Province and is the district capital of Galle District.

Before the arrival of the Portuguese in the 16th century, Galle was the main port on the island. It reached the height of its development in the 18th century, during the Dutch colonial period. This is the best example of a fortified city built by the Portuguese in South and Southeast Asia, showing the interaction between Portuguese architectural styles and native traditions. The city was extensively fortified by the Dutch during the 17th century from 1649 onwards. The Galle Fort is a world heritage site and is the largest remaining fortress in Asia built by European occupiers.

 

Galle International Stadium

The stadium at Galle was totally rebuilt after the tsunami disaster of 2004 and is now once again one of the most scenic grounds in world cricket. With the imposing Dutch East India Company Fort and its clock tower dominating one side while opposite only a street separates the field from the busy main trading centre of Galle and with the Indian Ocean visible from both ends, it is a fascinating cultural place to watch cricket.

It exudes an endearing mixture of a countrified and seaside ground with a laid-back atmosphere cloaking the battle that is raging on the pitch. In the past it has always been a successful haunt for spin bowlers with Shane Warne taking his 500th test wicket there and, very predictably, Muttiah Muralitharan having repeated success.

The few stands the stadium has are only two tiered, but most of the people are accommodated under tent-like canopies for shade with plenty of circulation to keep cool, making it a very quaint feeling ground. On the open embankments you can see many interested onlookers with their shopping bags, peering through the fences from the outside to catch a glimpse of the action; this gives one a feeling that it is really a ground that belongs to everyone here and that the people love their cricket. It’s all quite informal.

 

Accomodation

Aditya – Platinum

Aditya is a Luxury Boutique Resort and Spa. Open since 2006 and featuring 16 spacious suites which are uniquely decorated with exotic art and antiques, and also featuring lavish amenities, including private plunge pools, jacuzzis and lap pools. I would go as far as saying this is the best hotel I’ve ever stayed in anywhere in the world. Shanthi suites are included with the standard Platinum tour. The Aditya hotel is perfectly located on the way to Hikkaduwa and will offer guests a short commute to the cricket each day.

 

Marriot – Royal Blue

There’s no doubt that this classy 5* property is very worthy of the new ‘Royal Blue’ title, it’s a brand new, high end Marriott hotel and will prove an excellent base for those looking for affordable luxury. With a choice of exquisite dining options, sea views and being located at Weligama Bay, just an hour’s drive along the freeway to the ground.

The elegant property features upscale hotel rooms that boast ocean views, premium bedding, bathrooms with oversized tubs, mini-refrigerators, ergonomic workstations and Wi-Fi. Guests are welcome to take advantage of the enticing outdoor pools, fitness centre and rejuvenating spa. The beachfront location allows guests to enjoy world-class surfing, whale watching tours and safaris. Day trips to the Sinharaja Forest Reserve, Galle Fort and Yala National Park are easily accomplished from the resort.

 

Amari Hotel – Blue

This brand-new leisure hotel is arguably in the best location for the Galle International Stadium and is going to prove extremely popular with Howzat Travellers, I was lucky enough to enjoy two nights here during the inspection trip and sitting out on the balcony enjoying the sea views of an evening was something to savour.

Rooms are comfortable and well-appointed with electronic safe, mini bar, air conditioning and tea & coffee making facilities. With a wonderful swimming pool, complimentary Wi-Fi and one of the best breakfasts I enjoyed on the trip, this hotel is going to prove a hit.

 

Hikka Tranz by Cinnamon – Blue

Hikka Tranz by Cinnamon, the home of vibrant colours and crashing waves, is located a mere 25 minutes away from the Galle International Stadium. The hotel is also located in the centre of Hikkaduwa and will prove a perfect base for those looking for comfort and a prime location to enjoy this vibrant town.

This 150 room four story property has a relaxed feel and is adjacent to the beach, with three onsite restaurants, daily yoga and nightly entertainment, our Turtle customers will be getting the perfect mix of a beach holiday and cricket. All rooms have air-conditioning and fans plus all the normal 4* amenities including safe, mini bar, complimentary tea and coffee, iron and ironing board.

**Please note this hotel does not offer bathtubs.

 

Eden Resort, Bentota – Red

The Eden resort & Spa hotel is a perfect red tour property and offers those looking simply for the best value a good quality solution.

With a friendly welcome arrival, this 158-room property offers guests nightly entertainment, happy hour bar pricing, electronic safe, mini bar and complimentary Wi-Fi.

The Eden resort is approximately a one hour drive away from Galle along the newly constructed freeway.

**Baths available on request only.

 

Something to do in Galle…

Galle Fort

Whilst in Galle make sure you make the time to go for a walk around the Dutch Fort, located adjacent to the Cricket Stadium. The fort’s history extends thousands of years to biblical times. In more recent times it was a prize to be possessed for western traders in search of wealth and glory. Its beautifully preserved colonial fort with its quaint city with cobblestone streets within is a place time forgot.  If you are lucky enough to be located in one of the more local properties, then make sure you head down to the ‘Old Hospital’ for an evening meal.

Kandy

Second Test Match and Third & Fourth ODIs

Kandy is the second largest city in Sri Lanka after Colombo and is located in the Central Province. It was the last capital of the ancient kings’ era of Sri Lanka. The city lies in the midst of hills in the Kandy plateau, which crosses an area of tropical plantations, mainly tea.

Kandy is both an administrative and religious city and is also the capital of the Central Province. Kandy is the home of The Temple of the Tooth Relic, one of the most sacred places of worship in the Buddhist world. It was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1988.

 

Pallekele International Cricket Stadium (Also known as the Muttiah Muralitharan International Cricket Stadium)

The stadium was declared open in November 2009 and has a capacity of 35,000. The West Stand contains a media centre with grass banks to the North and South. We are going to offer the best grandstand seating available to all customers, with lifts servicing all floors.

 

Accomodation

Kings Pavilion – Platinum

This is an exclusive property with extraordinary views, this hotel is surrounded by the misty mountains and verdant greenery of Kandy. Revel in the rustic luxury of airy bedrooms styled after bygone eras, enjoy the 360-degree vistas and take a dip in the secluded infinity pool at our Kandy hotel that will give you an incredible insight into the lifestyle of Kandyan Kings; savour the decadence of your ultimate retreat. This amazing nine room hotel is exclusive for our Platinum guests and easily the best hotel we saw in the Kandy region and a pristine home for your Kandy stay.  Standard Rooms are included within the tour.

 

Mahaweli Reach – Blue

Nestled beside the mighty Mahaweli River, the Mahaweli Reach Hotel combines a sense of refined luxury with the old-world charm of an ancient kingdom. Discover the enchantment of Sri Lanka’s hill capital like never before at this Kandy hotel.

This wonderful 5* colonial property is a great base for our Blue tour customers and a hotel which we have been delighted to have secured on this occasion.  Its contains everything and more than you would expect from a property of this standard including a choice of restaurants, outdoor swimming pool, Business centre, gym, Spa and high-end amenities within each room. If you fancy it, you can also enjoy a game of tennis or snooker.

 

Cinnamon Citadel – Blue

The Cinnamon Citadel is a very beautiful resort hotel located on the banks of Sri Lanka’s longest river. The hotel is an ideal base for the blue tour customers and with a prolonged stay its relaxed and leisurely atmosphere will provide travellers with a holiday within a holiday.

The hotel has a very modern bar and reception area it’s open plan lounging looks onto the wonderfully looking swimming pool and views over the river.

Howzat Travel have secured superior rooms equipped with bottled drinking water, tea and coffee, mini bar, satellite TV, complimentary Wi-Fi throughout and an electronic safe.

The hotel also provides daily entertainment and can assist with any travel related services through its in-house Concierge desk. It also boasts two restaurants: one a-la-carte and one international buffet.

 

Ozo Kandy – Red

Modern, stylish and trendy, The Ozo is a great red tour hotel anywhere in the world and is perfectly located for not just the cricket transfer to Pallekele but also the walk into downtown Kandy.

The hotel boasts a well-priced lunch menu, roof top swimming pool, complimentary Wi-Fi along with exceptional views of Kandy Lake. The ‘Sleep’ standard of rooms offer Garden or mountain views, air-conditioning, mini bar, electronic safe and tea & coffee making facilities.

 

Topaz Hotel – Red

This hotel has been a regular choice on many previous Howzat Travel tours and we were delighted to find a fully refurbished hotel that is perfect for our red tour offering. Situated on the highest point of Sri Lanka’s hill capital, Hotel Topaz is an enchanting Kandy city hotel.

Howzat Travel have secured ‘Deluxe rooms’ for our stay and guests can enjoy the outdoor swimming pool, spectacular hillside views, rooftop bar and well-priced buffet dinner. Each room contains a mini bar, electronic safe, tea & coffee making facilities, satellite TV and air-conditioning. With bottled drinking water and Wi-Fi provided on a complimentary basis the Topaz will be a great base for red tour customers.

 

Something to do in Kandy…

Temple of the Tooth Relic

The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is a Buddhist temple in the city of Kandy. It is located in the royal palace complex which houses the Relic of the Tooth of Buddha. Since ancient times, the relic has played a significant role in local politics because it is believed that whoever holds the relic, holds the governance of the country. Kandy was the last capital of the Sinhalese Kings and is a UNESCO world heritage site partly due to the temple. The temple which houses the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha is one of the holiest shrines in the entire Buddhist world.

Colombo

Third Test Match, Fifth ODI & Only T20

Sri Lanka’s Capital, Colombo, is a port city with a rich colonial heritage on the western coast. It is a potpourri of races, religions and cultures.  The city is a contrast itself, with mansions, lush gardens, fine dining options, shopping malls packed with expensive designer brands standing next to urban slums; diesel fumed congested roads and street markets.

Despite its small size, just 37.31 km², Colombo offers a varying selection of experiences ranging from taking a tuk-tuk ride, a visit to Pettah market and eating Kottu to playing a round of golf and having high tea at one of the colonial style hotels overlooking the Indian Ocean.

 

Sinhalese Cricket Ground

Colombo is home to the Sinhalese Sports Club Cricket Ground.  Here we find ourselves on the edge of the main hub of this busy city and we can enjoy our cricket at a ground known locally as the “Lords” of Sri Lanka. From previous visits I can report that it has a lively atmosphere and the true feel of a test venue despite the seating being quite close to the action.

 

Accomodation

Uga Residence Colombo – Platinum

Each of our Park View rooms will provide our Platinum guests an oasis outside of the hustle and bustle of Colombo. Nestled between leafy Park Street and the lakeside Buddhist shrine of Gangarama, Residence by Uga Escapes is amongst one of the most unique boutique hotels in Colombo. Built in the 19th century by a wealthy barrister, Sheikh Salehboy Moosajee, the halls and ballrooms of this grand Victorian townhouse once welcomed British governors, Indian maharajas, European nobility and the cream of colonial Ceylon society. Today, Uga Residence is a unique eleven-suite luxury hotel in Colombo. Despite its central location, the atmosphere of secluded peace and quiet is pure balm for weary travellers.

The hotel also boasts the second biggest wine cellar in Sri Lanka, gymnasium, wonderful cuisine and an enticing outdoor swimming pool.

**Please note this hotel does not offer bathtubs.

 

Movenpick – Blue

During our reconnaissance trip this hotel was the base for the Sri Lanka team for their Colombo stay in the India series and it’s easy to see why…

The hotel offers open spaces, modern designs and cool features and has been in operation since January last year. It is the first new five-star hotel to open in Colombo in 25 years! Situated in the commercial and cultural heart of Sri Lanka’s capital city, this stunning 24-storey hotel brings a touch of altitude and attitude to Colombo’s hospitality scene, making it the perfect base from which to explore.

Contemporary design, panoramic views and an uplifting atmosphere are just some of the highlights of the 219 spacious rooms and suites. Themed restaurants and a spectacular rooftop bar compliment a beautiful spa, fitness centre, jacuzzi and infinity  pool. The hotel is located close to the Liberty Arcade, Colpetty market and the National Museum.

Howzat Travel has secured ‘Superior’ Rooms for our stays.

 

OZO Colombo – Red

In many ways a carbon copy of the design and layout of the OZO Kandy hotel but this time its sea facing and in a prime Colombo location. Understated, unassuming and worked to perfection. Cosy rooms complete with Sri Lankan charm, a rooftop lounge, complimentary Wi-Fi and gymnasium.

Each of our ‘Dream Rooms’ comes complete with a mini bar, sea and city views, blackout curtains, tea and coffee making facilities and a safety box. The all-day dining restaurant at the hotel brings you a selection of tasty yet healthy food options to enjoy, while the hotel puts on entertainment from Wednesday – Sundays.

**Please note this hotel does not offer bathtubs.

 

Something to do in Colombo…

Dutch Hospital

The Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct is one of the most attractive shopping centres in the country and has been recently developed since our last visit. The building was originally the hospital during the Dutch occupation of Sri Lanka and is considered to be the oldest building in the historic Colombo Fort area. The Hospital sometimes hosts live music also contains an array of cafes, restaurants, shops and bars so It’s a lovely place to stop and enjoy an evening meal amongst the attractive backdrop.

Dambulla

First & Second ODIs and Lotus & Ceylon Itineraries

Dambulla is situated 92 miles north-east of Colombo and 45 miles north of Kandy. It’s a wonderful central location to host not just the ODI games at the Rangiri Stadium but will also cater for those travellers looking for a perfect base for their respective sightseeing stays.

Major attractions of the area include the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex of Sri Lanka, Dambulla Rock Caves, the World famous Sigiriya Rock and the Golden Temple.

Dambulla is also located close enough to visit Polonnaruwa and the Mineriya National Park without too much hassle.

 

Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium

Dambulla International Cricket Stadium is the newest cricket venue in Sri Lanka. The 16,000-seater stadium was constructed in just 167 days with the inaugural one-day international match being played between Sri Lanka and England in March 2001. The bowler friendly pitch suits seamers in the morning because of the high-water table and heavy sweating and has tendencies to suit the spinners during the afternoon as the pitch begins to crumble.

 

Accomodation

Sigiriya Water Gardens – Platinum

The Sigiriya Water Gardens is a little off the beaten track but with such a wonderful entrance, spectacular views of Sigiriya Rock and extreme luxury this was easily one of the best standards of accommodation I saw in Sri Lanka.

Being just 16 months old, the hotels boasts a delightful in-house restaurant, outdoor swimming pool, spa, and rooftop bar and extremely well-appointed accommodation.

 

Jetwing Lake – Blue
This 5* hotel is virtually brand new and a welcome high-end property to the Dambulla region, the Deluxe rooms well-appointed with all the modern amenities you would expect as well as balconies and lake views.

The hotel boasts all the 5* amenities you would expect with a top end property, including bath attire, mini bar, safe, Wi-Fi, nightly buffet restaurant, al a carte Chinese restaurant and wonderful bar area.

 

Amaya Lake – Red

This 101-room property is where wonderful tree-laden pathways lead to the pristine beauty of Amaya Lake, nestled along the shores of the Kandalama reservoir. Find laid back seclusion in the midst of the historic Dambulla city or seek the adrenaline rush of high-octane water sports, Amaya Lake has something unique in store for every guest.

All villa style rooms are of an equivalent standard and are located within the gardens of the hotel. Rooms contain a mini bar, bath tub, tea & coffee, satellite TV, air conditioning, electronic safe and complimentary Wi-Fi.

With an evening buffet dinner and nightly entertainment, all red tour customers will be sure to enjoy their stays at this gem of a property.

 

Enhance your stay in Dambulla with some optional add-ons! Click Here to see the options >

Negembo

Sightseeing Options

The Sapphire and Pre-Test tour sightseeing options will be spending the night on arrival in Negombo which is located a mere 12km (20 minutes’ drive) from Colombo International airport.

Our chosen properties, the ‘Jetwing Beach’ and ‘Jetwing Blue’ which are both beach fronting and after the long flight over to this Gem Island will provide guests with a nice first taste of Sri Lanka.

The facilities at each property are very good so there is little reason to leave the resort but if you fancy venturing onto the main road there is an array of restaurants, bars, nightlife, shops and outlets to keep you busy, you may also fancy a walk down across the beach to the sea which should be swimmable during your stay but as always please take caution and swim between the flags

 

Accomodation

Jetwing Beach – Pre & Post-Tour Sightseeing 

The Jetwing Beach was the first hotel in Negombo to receive membership to the small luxury hotels of the world. The hotel is nestled amongst 2.5 acres of beauty surrounded by palm trees and the sun kissed beaches of the Sri Lankan west coast.

We have selected Deluxe Rooms at this property which offers the more than suitable amenities including air conditioning, bath tubs, satellite TV, beach views, tea & coffee making facilities, complimentary Wi-Fi and electronic safe.

The hotel has four dedicated restaurants, The Sands, The Black Coral (fine-dining), The Terrace Bar and The Deck. Expect the property to have nightly entertainment throughout your stay. The hotel also offers two good sized swimming pools, a well-equipped gymnasium, a dedicated Spa, plus additional sporting activities such as beach volleyball, tennis courts and dive centre.

 

Jetwing Blue – Sapphire ODI Tour

Jetwing Blue is situated along the captivating golden sandy shores of Negombo. The hotel is nestled amongst nine acres of beauty surrounded by palm trees and the sun kissed beaches.

We have selected Deluxe Rooms at this property which offers the more than suitable amenities including air conditioning, bath tubs, satellite TV, beach views, tea and coffee making facilities, complimentary Wi-Fi and electronic safe.

The hotel has two dedicated restaurants, the Kitchen & Centre Point and special beach or pool dining can be arranged.

You can expect the property to have entertainment throughout your stay. The hotel also boasts a good-sized swimming pool, a well-equipped gymnasium, a dedicated Spa, plus additional sporting activities such as beach volleyball, tennis courts and dive centre.

Sri Lanka Testimonials

Check out customer testimonials from our previous cricket tours to Sri Lanka

Related & Previous Tours

See below links to other tours you might be interested and reviews from previous tours to Sri Lanka

If you fancy Caribbean cricket…

West Indies v England 2019

 

Previous Howzat Travel Sri Lanka cricket tours

Sri Lanka v England 2014

ICC World Twenty20 2012

Sri Lanka v England 2012

Sri Lanka v England 2007

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