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Asgiriya Stadium losing Test status

November 28, 2010 in Cricket, Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka Cricket

Asgiriya Stadium

Asgiriya Stadium

Asgiriya stadium is one of beautiful cricket grounds in Sri Lanka. Test cricket in Kandy now shifting to Pallekele, it becomes vividly clear that the Asgiriya International Cricket Stadium, the venue for some thrilling contests in the past, several historical moments of Sri Lankan cricket, and of course more than one heartbreak, will cease to host international matches.

Asgiriya Stadium, private property of Trinity College, Kandy, is a mere 10 minute walk from the centre of the city, and usually when an international team toured Sri Lanka, a Test Match would always be played at this venue.It became the second Test venue in Sri Lanka after the P. Saravanamuttu Stadium when it hosted Greg Chappell’s Australians in 1983.

From thereon, Test Matches were played at the venue regularly, and the last Test Match to be played there was three years ago when England toured. Sri Lanka went on to win that Test, and more importantly Muttiah Muralitharan claimed his 709th Test wicket to go past Shane Warne as the highest wicket taker in Test cricket.

Sri Lankan captain, Kumar Sangakkara, an old boy of Trinity College, grew up playing his cricket at Asgiriya, and regretted not having the chance of playing international cricket at his school ground in the future.

“I love playing at Asgiriya. Hopefully, one day, Test cricket can be played at both grounds.
To upgrade Trinity College’s cricket ground to international status was an idea of former Chairman of the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka, Gamini Dissanayake; it was one of the ICC requirements when Sri Lanka were granted Test status to improve the infrastructure of international venues.

Sri Lanka’s first Test win at Asgiriya came in 1998 against Zimbabwe. But more success soon followed as Sri Lanka won their first Test against Australia the following year. The ground also hosted some of the tightest and ugliest Test matches to be played on this soil.
Next year, England went on to win by three wickets having also lost the previous Test in Galle by an innings to the hosts. In the same Test, Sangakkara missed his maiden Test hundred when he gave Robert Croft the charge on 95 and was stumped by Alec Stewart.
Asgiriya also hosted the 1996 World Cup fixture between Sri Lanka and Kenya when the hosts went on to pile up a mammoth 398; a World Record at the time.

In all, Asgiriya hosted 22 Test Matches and Sri Lanka has won seven of them. November 28, 2010 (Island Cricket):