Jump to content

Galle International Stadium

Coordinates: 6°01′54″N 80°12′58″E / 6.0316°N 80.2160°E / 6.0316; 80.2160
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Galle International Stadium
The Esplanade
Ground information
LocationGalle, Sri Lanka
Coordinates6°01′54″N 80°12′58″E / 6.0316°N 80.2160°E / 6.0316; 80.2160
Establishment1876; 148 years ago (1876)
OwnerGalle Cricket Club
TenantsSri Lanka Cricket
Galle Cricket Club
End names
City End
Fort End
International information
First Test3–7 June 1998:
 Sri Lanka v  New Zealand
Last Test16–20 July 2023:
 Sri Lanka v  Pakistan
First ODI22 August 1999:
 Sri Lanka v  Australia
Last ODI2 July 2017:
 Sri Lanka v  Zimbabwe
First WODI11 September 2018:
 Sri Lanka v  India
Last WODI3 July 2023:
 Sri Lanka v  New Zealand
First WT20I26 September 2012:
 Sri Lanka v  South Africa
Last WT20I1 October 2012:
 Australia v  England
Team information
Galle Cricket Club (1876–present)
As of 20 July 2023
Source: Cricinfo

Galle International Stadium (Sinhala: ගාල්ල ජාත්‍යන්තර ක්‍රිකට් ක්‍රීඩාංගණය, Tamil: காலி பன்னாட்டு அரங்கம்) is a cricket stadium in Galle, Sri Lanka, situated near 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. This Stadium is identified as one of the luckiest venues for the Sri Lankan national cricket team.[1][2]


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 P. A. Templer, the then Secretary of the Galle Municipal Council. Eventually the racing ceased and the ground was used for cricket matches more than races.

The first school cricket match played at this venue, then known as the 'Galle Esplanade' dates back to May 1888, was between Richmond College, Galle and All Saints' College, Galle.[3] The Richmond-Mahinda Annual Cricket Encounter was begun in 1905 at this venue and it is one of the longest cricket match series in Sri Lanka, having been played for over 100 years. In 1927, the ground was officially declared as a cricket stadium.

The ground hosted its first first-class match on 29 February 1984. A turf wicket was introduced to the stadium in 1945 under the guidance of Dhanapala Lorensu Hewa, who was then Secretary of the Galle Cricket Ground. The assistance of the Colombo Cricket Club was also taken for this.[4]

The ground was later upgraded to international cricket standards, and became the seventh international cricket stadium in Sri Lanka able to host Test matches. The first test match was played on the ground on 3 June 1998. It was played between Sri Lanka and New Zealand, resulting in a win for Sri Lanka by an innings and 16 runs. The first ODI match was scheduled to be held on 25 June 1998 between India and Sri Lanka, but was abandoned due to the ground being waterlogged from overnight rain and heavy raining in the morning.

On 26 December 2004, the ground was devastated by the tsunami resulting from the Indian Ocean earthquake, with flood waters up to 30 metres deep.[5] The tsunami occurred during a school cricket match between St. Aloysius' College and visiting English team Harrow School (coached by Stehphen Jones), with players and spectators forced to shelter on the roof of the stadium for several hours.[6] Most of the buildings in the stadium were destroyed, and the ground was damaged substantially. In the weeks that followed the flooding, the stadium became a temporary shelter for hundreds of people displaced by the tsunami. A temporary refugee camp and a helipad were constructed there in order to assist the survivors.

Renovation of the Galle International Stadium began on 8 May 2006. The ambitious renovation involved numerous new buildings, including a new pavilion and a media centre. The seating capacity for spectators was also increased. The re-constructed stadium was opened by President Mahinda Rajapakse on 17 December 2007. After the re-opening of the stadium, the first Test match was held between Sri Lanka and England on the same day, which resulted in a draw.

The Galle Stadium is also noted for the fact that in 2010 it was the stadium that hosted the last match of arguably one of the finest cricketers produced by Sri Lanka, Muttiah Muralitharan. Muralitharan needed eight wickets to reach the 800 Test wickets mark. His first wicket of the match and 793rd casualty overall was Sachin Tendulkar. He then took a further four wickets in the first innings of that Test match. In the second innings, he took two wickets quickly, but had to bowl a long spell to finally get his 800th wicket, which was that of Pragyan Ojha, who was caught by Mahela Jayawardene at first slip.

On 11 March 2017, the stadium witnessed another milestone for one of the greatest ever left-arm spinners. Rangana Herath became the most successful left-arm spinner in test cricket history by surpassing 362 wickets by Daniel Vettori after he dismissed Bangladeshi Litton Das.

In June 2017, Sri Lanka Cricket announced that Galle will host its first One-Day International after 20 years, when Zimbabwe tour Sri Lanka. The first two ODIs were held on 30 June and 2 July.[7] In the first ODI, Zimbabwe won the match posting the highest ODI chase ever in Sri Lankan soil. The first ODI century at the venue was scored by Zimbabwean opener Solomon Mire in that match.

Ground information[edit]

The ground conditions generally favours spin bowling, and as such 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 12 of the 23 Test matches that have been held at the stadium.[8] 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. Harsha Munasinghe is the current ground manager. The former ground manager was Jayananda Warnaweera.[9]

View of the stadium from the old Dutch Fort, 2013

Mahinda Rajapaksa pavilion[edit]

This pavilion was a new addition to the stadium during the post-tsunami renovations. It is named after the Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa 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. The dressing rooms of the two teams are also in this pavilion.[10]

Galle Cricket Club pavilion[edit]

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.


The reconstruction of the ground had been reconsidered by the Sri Lanka Cricket and the Sri Lankan government mainly due to some restrictions imposed on constructions on the coastline and also some internal problems within the Sri Lanka cricket board. Suggestions had also been made to construct the stadium at a different location.[11] However the final decision was to renovate the existing stadium. The cost of the reconstruction was approximately Rs. 500,000,000. International support was obtained for this, with considerable assistance provided by Surrey County Cricket Club in England. Additionally, former cricketers Shane Warne (Australia) and Ian Botham (England) also made notable financial contributions.[12]

During the renovations, another problem emerged that threatened to stop the construction. One of the new buildings being constructed blocked the view of the adjacent fort, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Galle Heritage Foundation and some other organisations expressed concern over this, pointing out that this may result in the fort being removed from the UNESCO World Heritage List. This issue was later resolved and the construction re-continued after some time.[13][14]

Al Jazeera pitch fixing probe[edit]

The Qatari network Al Jazeera, a documentary claimed that the groundsmen deliberately altered the nature of the pitch in order to produce results that favoured the home team especially during Sri Lanka's test match against Australia in Galle. The news reports claimed that two of the four-pitch fixing offences occurred in Galle, with the groundsmen at Chennai being accused of pitch-fixing charges after hosting the final Test Match of the series between India and England in 2016.[15]

Other sports[edit]


In 2013 the SLRFU held the Carlton Rugby 7s tournament at the Galle International Cricket Stadium. The games were held on 27 and 28 July 2013,[16] however there were considerable concerns about potential damage to the central cricket pitches.[17]

Ground figures[edit]

International matches[edit]


  • P Matches Played
  • H Matches Won by Home Side
  • T Matches Won by Touring Side
  • N Matches Won by Neutral Side
  • D/N/T Matches Drawn/No Result/Tied
Ground Figures
Format P H T N D/N/T Inaugural Match
Test matches[18] 34* 19 8 0 6 3 June 1998
One-Day Internationals[19] 6 3 2 1 0 22 August 1999

Updated 14 January 2021

Records and statistics[edit]

Teams result summary[edit]

Test match teams summary
Team Span Match Won Lost Draw %W %D %L
 Sri Lanka 1998–2021 34 19 8 6 55.89 23.52 17.64
 England 2001–2021 6 2 2 2 16.67 33.33 33.33
 Pakistan 2000–2023 6 3 3 0 50 0 50
 India 2001–2017 5 2 3 0 40 0 60
 Australia 1999–2016 4 2 1 1 50 25 25
 New Zealand 1998–2019 4 0 4 0 0 0 100
 South Africa 2000–2018 4 1 2 1 25 25 50
 West Indies 2001–2015 3 0 2 1 0 33.33 66.67
 Bangladesh 2013–2017 2 0 1 1 0 50 50
 Zimbabwe 2002–2002 1 0 1 0 0 0 100
ODI match teams summary
Team Span Match Won Lost %W %L
 Sri Lanka 1999–2017 5 3 2 60 40
 Australia 1999-1999 2 2 0 100 0
 Zimbabwe 2017–2017 2 1 1 50 50
 South Africa 2000–2000 1 0 1 0 100
 India 1999-1999 1 0 1 0 100
 Pakistan 2000–2000 1 0 1 0 100

Highest innings[edit]

Highest Team Totals in Tests[20]
Rank Team Score Overs Run Rate Innings Opposition Date Test No. Report
1  Bangladesh 638 196.0 3.25 2  Sri Lanka 8 March 2013 2078 (scorecard)
2  Pakistan 600/8d 175.2 3.42 2  Sri Lanka 21 June 2000 1501 (scorecard)
3  India 600 133.1 4.51 1  Sri Lanka 27 July 2017 2265 (scorecard)
4  Sri Lanka 590/9d 202.4 2.91 2  West Indies 13 November 2001 1567 (scorecard)
5  West Indies 580/9d 163.2 3.55 1  Sri Lanka 15 November 2010 1977 (scorecard)

Lowest innings[edit]

Lowest Team Totals in Tests[20]
Rank Team Score Overs Run Rate Innings Opposition Date Test No. Report
1  Zimbabwe 79 43.3 1.81 4  Sri Lanka 12 Jan 2002 1585 (scorecard)
2  England 81 30.5 2.62 2  Sri Lanka 18 Dec 2007 1854 (scorecard)
3  Pakistan 100 54.3 1.83 2  Sri Lanka 22 Jun 2012 2046 (scorecard)
4  Sri Lanka 105 50.0 2.10 2  Australia 31 Aug 2011 2005 (scorecard)
5  Australia 106 33.2 3.18 2  Sri Lanka 5 Aug 2016 2213 (scorecard)


See also[edit]


  1. ^ The stadium which is one of Sri Lanka’s luckiest venues Uncertain future for Galle International Cricket Stadium, Daily News, July 2018
  2. ^ Galle Stadium under the radar once again, The Sunday Times, May 2017
  3. ^ "Galle Stadium should remain a Test cricket venue". Daily News. The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd. 21 July 2018. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  4. ^ [1] [permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Race to restore Galle to full glory". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 30 November 2021.
  6. ^ "Narrow escape for SA cricket coach in Sri Lanka". 27 December 2004. Retrieved 12 September 2023.
  7. ^ "Galle to host first ODI since 2000 on Zimbabwe visit". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
  8. ^ "Team records | Test matches | Cricinfo Statsguru". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 30 November 2021.
  9. ^ [2] [permanent dead link]
  10. ^ [3] [permanent dead link]
  11. ^ "Galle stadium to be reconstructed". 22 April 2005.
  12. ^ "Galle International Stadium | Sri Lanka | Cricket Grounds". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 30 November 2021.
  13. ^ "Reconstruction of Galle stadium to continue". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  14. ^ "Galle cricket stadium may be demolished". BBC News. 21 July 2018. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  15. ^ "Cricket match-fixers suspended amid calls for probe". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  16. ^ "Carlton Rugby Sevens shifted to Galle". Daily Mirror. 14 February 2013. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  17. ^ "Carlotn Super 7s tournament destroys pitch in Galle Stadium". Lanka News Web. 30 July 2013. Archived from the original on 13 July 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  18. ^ "Aggregate/overall records | Test matches | Cricinfo Statsguru | ESPNcricinfo.com". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  19. ^ "Aggregate/overall records | One-Day Internationals | Cricinfo Statsguru | ESPNcricinfo.com". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  20. ^ a b "Galle International Stadium Cricket Team Records & Stats". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 30 November 2021.

External links[edit]