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Asgiriya only Test venue owned by a school

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The Asgiriya International Stadium

Asgiriya, is the only test venue owned by a school in Kandy . This ground has hosted a number of significant cricket matches. It is the Asgiriya International Stadium in the heart of Sri Lanka’s hill-country, which is the home ground of Trinity College. The ground was considered as one of the most beautiful cricket grounds in the world.

Great cricketers and legends have played at this grounds, which is internationally famous. This ground is owned by Trinity College and has helped almost all the schools in Kandy. Every school used this grounds for ‘Big Matches’ and even for sports meets and hockey matches. Even the Kandy cricket playing clubs were looked after and most of their matches were played at this venue. The Asia Cup and World Cup cricket matches were also played. Every team that visited before and after Test status have played at this venue and has commented that this is one of the best cricket grounds in the world.

Asgiriya has been a venue where some of the world’s great cricketers were seen in action, to name some of them – Herbert Sutcliff, Keith Miller, Tom Graveney, Brian Close, Frank Worrell, Fazal Mohamed, Bill Lawry, Colin Cowdrey, John Edrich, Tony Greig, Jack Hobbs, Leslie Ames, Lindsay Hassett, Sunil Gavaskar, Ajith Wadekar, Geoff Boycott, Kapil Dev, Intikhab Alam, Majid Khan, Imran Khan, Javed Miandad, Mushtaq Mohamed, Zaheer Abbas, Wasim Akram, Richard Hadlee, Dennis Lillee, Jef fThomson, Bob Simpson, Ian Chappel, Sachin Tendulkar, Vivian Richards, Gary Sobers, Brain Lara, Shane Warne, Greg Chappel, Wasim Akram, Mohamed Azharuddin, Rameez Raja and Inzamamul Haq.

It was in 1910, 112 years ago that permission was given to start work at Asgiriya grounds by the White Sahibs. The principal of Trinity at that time was Rev. A.G. Fraser the man behind the construction of this grounds. It was completed in 1915 and the grounds was ceremonially opened by Sir Robert Charmers the then Governor of Ceylon on January 15, 1915.

The late Gamini Dissanayake who was an old Trinitian and president of Sri Lanka Cricket at that time, with the permission of then principal, the late Rev. W.G. Wickremasinghe used modern machinery and within a short period of only 150 days made the ground to international standards. On June 6, 1981 Gamini Dissanayake, cut the first sod to start work and on February 5, 1982, the then President of the country an old Royalist J.R. Jayewardene ceremonially opened the stadium. Few days after the opening, the first International cricket match was played between Keith Fletcher’s England team and the Sri Lanka side led by Duleep Mendis. The first official Test played at this venue was between Greg Chappell’s Australian side and Duleep Mendis’s Sri Lanka team. After Sri Lanka won Test status several International games were played at this venue. The turf wicket was prepared by T.M. Omardeen under the supervision of Abu Fuard who coordinated on behalf of the Cricket Board, with .J.D. Shaw Wilson as the first curator.

The Chairman of the project was the late Rev. W.G. Wickremasinghe the principal, late S. Bandaranayake, late H.M. Halimdeen, Harindra Dunuwille, late Kavan Rambukwella, Jayantha Jayawardene, late Rohan Wijenayake, all old boys of Trinity College, Gamini Kannangara and S. Mubarak from the Water Resources Board were some of the officials who did a tremendous work to make this ground an International Stadium. Trinity is the only school in the world to have a Test playing venue. Asgiriya was the ground which gave a big hand for International cricket in Knady beofe Pallekelle stadium came in.

The first Test cricket match at Asgiriya was against the Australians in 1982–83. Test matches were played regularly until the match against England in 2007-08. Sri Lanka’s first Test win at Asgiriya came in 1998 against Zimbabwe, 15 years after the ground hosted its first Test. More success soon followed in the coming years as Sri Lanka won their first Test against Australia in 1999, a game remembered for the dreadful collision between Steve Waugh and Jason Gillespie. Both players had to be airlifted to Colombo for medical treatment. Asgiriya has also hosted a 1996 Cricket World Cup fixture between Sri Lanka and Kenya, where Sri Lanka made 398, the highest World Cup score at the time and highest ODI team total until 400 was passed.

Trinity however has had the good fortune of having three generations of born experts as groundsmen. T.G. Marthelis Appuhamy was at Trinity as groundsman from 1914 to 1964. His son T.G.Wickremapala was there from 1964 to 1998. His son T.G. Nimal, of the third generation were in charge of the Asgiriya International Stadium.


Friday, April 29, 2022 – 01:00

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