The Galle International Stadium, previously also known as the Esplanade, is one of the most picturesque cricket grounds in the world.
Located in Sri Lanka and fringed on both sides by the Indian Ocean, it was established way back in 1876 and boasts a capacity of 35,000 spectators.
The first Test match at this venue was held in June 1998 and witnessed Sri Lanka beat New Zealand by an inning and 16 runs.
This venue is considered one of the luckiest stadiums for the Sri Lanka cricket team and has witnessed many special moments in Test match cricketing history over the years.
Not only did Galle International Stadium witness Sri Lanka legend Muttiah Muralitharan - the leading wicket-taker in Tests - pick up his 800th Test scalp, it saw Rangan Herath surpass Daniel Vettori to become the leading left-arm spinner as far as taking Test wickets were concerned.
With that in mind, here’s a closer look at some of the other interesting Test records and stats from the Galle International Stadium.
Galle International Stadium Test records and stats
Interestingly, the Bangladesh cricket team has made the highest total in Tests on this ground. While replying to Sri Lanka’s total of 570/4 in a 2013 Test, Bangladesh made 638 in their first innings with Mushfiqur Rahim scoring a double ton for the tourists. The match eventually ended in a draw.
South Africa has the unenviable record of scoring the lowest score at this venue. The Proteas did so in the first Test of their 2018 tour of the island nation. After being set a target of 352 to chase in the fourth innings of the match, South Africa crumbled and skittled out for a mere 73 as Sri Lanka registered a 278-run win.
Sri Lanka legend Mahela Jayawardene is the leading run-getter in Tests at the Galle International Stadium. He scored 2,382 runs at this venue at an average of 70.05, smashing seven centuries and 12 fifties along the way, including a best of 237 against South Africa in 2004.
To no one’s surprise, Muttiah Muralitharan is the top wicket-taker in Tests on this ground with 111 scalps to his name. He did so at an impressive average and economy of 18.50 and 2.15 respectively.
Highest individual score
The highest individual score at Galle International Stadium belongs to Chris Gayle, who scored his career-best 333 against Sri Lanka in a 2010 Test. Gayle’s knock in the first innings featured 34 fours and nine sixes and helped West Indies post 580/9 declared. Despite forcing a follow-on on Sri Lanka, the match still ended in a draw.
Best bowling figures
Muttiah Muralitharan’s 7/46 in the first innings of the first Test of England’s 2003 tour of Sri Lanka is the best bowling figures in Tests on this ground. He also took 4/47 in the second innings and was the Player of the Match as the game ended in a draw.
Best bowling figures in a match
Muttiah Muralitharan also has the best bowling figures in a Test match on this ground thanks to his 13/171 across two innings against South Africa in the first game of the Proteas’ tour of the island nation in 2000. Adjudged the Player of the Match, Muralitharan bagged 6/87 in the first innings and 7/84 in the second as Sri Lanka won the game by an inning and 15 runs.
The same game that witnessed Bangladesh score the highest total on this ground also saw Mushfiqur Rahim and Mohammad Ashraful stitch the highest partnership at this venue. The former made 200 and the latter 190 as the duo put on 267 runs for the fifth wicket. Bangladesh eventually made 638 and the game ended in a draw.
Photo credit: Alamy