The Wanderers Stadium, also known as the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium is a cricket stadium located in the suburb of Illovo in Johannesburg, South Africa. The stadium is nicknamed ‘The Bullring’ because of the electric atmosphere it generates. The Wanderers is the largest Test match venue in the country having a seating capacity of 34,000.
The stadium is the third test ground in Johannesburg after the Old Wanderers and the Ellis Park. Domestically, the stadium is the home ground of the Highveld Lions.
The Wanderers Stadium was originally completed in 1956 and bore witness to an incredible bowling feat by a local boy Hugh Tayfield as he took 9/113 in the fourth test against England in 1956/57.
The stadium was completely overhauled as South Africa were readmitted to international cricket in 1991.
In 1996, flood lights were installed at the stadium thus allowing day night ODI matches to be hosted at the stadium.
The Wanderers Stadium became the lasting memory of English cricket fans in November 1995 as Michael Atherton batted for 643 minutes to save a test match. Chasing a target of 479 in the final innings, England soon found themselves at 145/4. Michael Atherton, first with Robin Smith and then with Jack Russell stitched two important partnerships to bail the English out.
The stadium hosted the final of the 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup between Australia and India. The stadium witnessed Australia pick up their third World Cup crown after defeating India by a huge margin of 125 runs.
On 12th March 2006, the stadium hosted one of the most memorable matches of the 21st century when South Africa took on Australia. Batting first, Australia posted 434/4 which was the highest ODI team score then. Ricky Ponting scored 164 from 154 balls.
In reply, South Africa did the unthinkable by getting to the target with 2 wickets in hand and a ball to spare. Herschelle Gibbs eclipsed Ponting’s efforts earlier in the day to score 175 from 142 balls.
The Wanderers Stadium also hosted the final of the very first ICC World T20 held in 2007. India beat arch rivals Pakistan by 5 runs to win the tournament.
In October 2003, the clubhouse of the Wanderers Stadium was entirely destroyed by a fire. The fire began in the kitchen and spread through the ventilation ducts.
Many trophies and memorabilia were destroyed as a result of the fire. Among those that were lost was the bat with which Graeme Pollock scored 274 against Australia in 1966/67.
On 4th February 2017, the stadium hosted South Africa’s ODI against Sri Lanka. The visitors scored 163 before losing all their wickets, with Niroshan Dickwella scoring 74. In reply, South Africa managed to get to their target in 32 overs, winning by 7 wickets.
The ground hosted a test match as well during Sri Lanka’s tour of South Africa. After deciding to bat first, the home side scored 426 with Hashim Amla and JP Duminy both posting tons. Sri Lanka failed to score the runs in two innings’ with Kagiso Rabada, Wayne Parnell and Duanne Olivier picking up wickets in both innings. In the end, South Africa won by an innings and 118 runs.