International Stadium is a cricket stadium in Galle, Sri Lanka
, situated near the Galle Fort
and fringed on two sides by the Indian Ocean. It is considered to be one of the most picturesque cricket grounds in the World
. Before being brought up to international cricket standards, it was known as ‘The Esplanade’, and is the home ground of the Galle cricket club.
The ground was built in 1876 as a race course. There was no permanent pavilion until 1892, when a ‘grand stand’ was built according to a suggestion of Mr. P A Templer, the then Secretary of the Galle Municipality Council. Eventually the racing ceased and the ground was used for cricket matches more than races.In 1927, the ground was officially declared as a cricket stadium.
The ground favours spin bowling, and is considered favourable to the Sri Lankan side which has several good spin bowlers and also a batting line up that is good at playing against spin bowling. This idea is supported by the fact that Sri Lanka has won 7 of the 13 Test matches that have been held at the stadium. The ground is adjacent to a Dutch built fort and is bordered by the sea on two sides.
The ground covers an area of 4.216 hectares, the distance from the wicket to the boundary being 75 yards and blue grass is used on the turf. The stadium includes three indoor practice nets and four outdoor nets. The average first innings score in the Galle international stadium is 340. Mr. Jayananda Warnaweera is the current ground manager.
Mahinda Rajapakse pavilion
This pavilion was a new addition to the stadium during the post-tsunami renovations. It is named after the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse who gave the clearance for the reconstruction to begin at a stage when the future of the stadium had been uncertain. This pavilion can provide seating for up to 500 VIP guests. It also contains a media centre that can hold 150 media personnel, and is equipped with two TV control rooms and a radio commentators’ room.
Galle Cricket Club pavilion
The Galle Cricket Club pavilion was formerly the main pavilion of the stadium, and was opened on 18 September 1955. This was constructed with the money collected from a lottery organized by the Galle Cricket Club. The Galle Gymkhana Club also made a significant contribution to the construction of this pavilion.