India vs Sri Lanka 2017: Venue Profiles, SSC Ground, Colombo
After defeating Sri Lanka by 304 runs in the first Test at Galle, India have already consolidated their position in the second Test at Colombo as Sri Lanka are currently 209/2 in their second innings, having been dismissed in their first innings for 183 in reply to India’s 622/9 that comprised centuries from Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane and fifties from Ravindra Jadeja, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandran Ashwin and KL Rahul.
The Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo is one of the most popular cricket grounds in Sri Lanka and even though it is the second smallest ground in the country in terms of capacity with 10,000, it has hosted more Tests than any other cricketing stadium in Sri Lanka, having hosted 43 Test matches which is the most number of matches hosted by any Asian ground.
Let’s take a look at the ground’s history and India’s performances and individual performances at the ground.
Way back in 1899, a scholastic cricket team comprising of players from three schools in Colombo namely Royal College, S. Thomas College, and Wesley College had taken on the Colts Cricket Club which is also based in Colombo. The school-based cricket team won the match by a run and subsequently, a decision to establish an all-Sinhalese Cricket Club was made.
Thus, the Sinhalese Sports Club was founded and it initially leased a land at Victoria Park, Colombo which was covered with cinnamon trees. In 1952, the club shifted to its present location at Maitland Place which had been used as an aerodrome by the Allies during the Second World War.
The pavilion of the stadium was built in 1956 thanks to the sponsorship of a nightclub owner named Donovan Andree. The scoreboard and sightscreens were built during the mid-1970s. The stands of the ground have been named after some of its sponsors that include Telecommunications Company Lanka Bell, HSBC, and Seylan Bank.
The SSC ground hosted its first cricket match in February 1982- an ODI between Sri Lanka and England which the latter won by 5 runs thanks to a brilliant all-round performance by Ian Botham who scored a 51-ball 60 and took two wickets with the ball.
The ground hosted its first Test in 1984 against New Zealand which was drawn thanks to Roy Dias’s century in the second innings that helped Sri Lanka to 289 after conceding a 24-run lead. The ground has hosted a total of seven matches in ICC tournaments, 6 of which were played during the 2002 Champions Trophy and the remaining games being played at the 1996 World Cup between Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe.
India played their first match at this ground in August 1985 and the match was drawn. India scored 218 in their first innings with Asantha de Mel taking five wickets. In reply, Sri Lanka scored 347 thanks to centuries from Ranjan Madugalle and Arjuna Ranatunga. In their second innings, India scored 251 thanks to fifties from Lalchand Rajput (61) and Dilip Vengsarkar (98) with Rumesh Ratnayake picking up 6 wickets. Sri Lanka could only score 61/4 in their second innings as the match came to an end.