Pallekele Cricket Stadium
Sri Lanka is a country that is synonymous with the sport of cricket, which is the most popular sport on the island. It was introduced to locals by British colonists in the 1800s, and nearly two centuries later the island is a major force in the sport and home to eight international cricket grounds.
Location and Development
Located around 15 kilometres to the east of Kandy’s city centre, the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium was first opened in November of 2009, becoming the 104th venue for Test cricket in the world a year later. It is owned by Sri Lanka Cricket, the national body for the administration and development of cricket in Sri Lanka, and is able to host 22,000 spectators for the sport.
Change in Name
In 2010, the Central Provincial Council in Kandy announced plans to rename the stadium in honour of Sri Lankan cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan, who holds the world record for the most wickets taken during a test and one-day cricket match and who retired from Test Cricket that same year. Although the council never officially renamed the stadium, it is nonetheless sometimes referred to as the Muttiah Muralitharan International Cricket Stadium.
A Popular Venue
Pallekele International Cricket Stadium and the Hambantota International Cricket Stadium were both built for the 2011 Cricket World Cup. Three matches were held at the Pallekele Stadium for the Cup, with the Sri Lankan team winning their match against Zimbabwe. When Sri Lanka became the host of the 2012 ICC World Twenty20, the Pallekele Cricket Stadium hosted 9 out of 27 matches played.