The Galle International Stadium is arguably one of the most scenic cricketing grounds in the world as it is both surrounded by the beautiful Indian Ocean and the majestic Galle Fort which is a 16th century fort built by the Dutch who occupied Ceylon at the time. The cricket stadium which was also known as ‘The Esplanade’ was originally a race course built in 1876. However, over time there was gradual increase in the number of cricketing matches played there as opposed to the horse races conducted and it became the home ground of the Galle Cricket Club. The stadium hosted its first-ever official first-class match in 1984, but after having been improved to international cricketing standards with the laying of a turf wicket, the first test match was played between Sri Lanka and New Zealand in the summer of 1998. This was subsequently followed by the first one-day international match at the ground which was a contest between Sri Lanka and India during the same period.
The stadium is generally regarded as a happy hunting ground for the national Sri Lankan cricket team as it favors them with a spin-friendly wicket which is furthered strengthened by the fact that out of the 17 tests played at the venue, 12 of them were won by the national side. However, this picturesque stadium was a scene of utter devastation following the 2004 Tsunami as it ravaged across the southern coastline of Sri Lanka. It was also used as a shelter for survivors of the tsunami in the days following the disaster. Further plunging the stadium’s future into doubt was the continued delay into its repair. However, international support from cricketing icons such as Shane Warne further intensified efforts into its reconstruction and was reopened in December of 2007. The stadium is also famous for the fact that it hosted the last test match of world-class spin-wizard Muttiah Muralitharan’s career. Murali was able to take his 800th wicket at this venue.
This splendid cricket venue is a must-see for cricketing die-hards as the atmosphere regardless of it being a test match or a one-day international, is a phenomenal experience. Travelers could find accommodation in Galle hotels such as Jetwing Lighthouse. This magnificent Galle hotel is designed by the famed architect Geoffrey Bawa and indulges and offers its guests a luxurious stay at one Sri Lanka’s most renowned hotels.