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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 November 2007, 11:46 GMT
Sri Lanka venue guide
England play Sri Lanka in three back-to-back Tests, at Kandy (from 1 to 5 December), Colombo SSC (9-13 December) and Galle (18-22 December).

Kandy

Sri Lanka's record: Played 20, won 6, lost 9, drawn 5
England's record: Played 2, won 1, drawn 1

Novice monks often catch some of the action at Kandy
Novice monks often catch some of the action at Kandy

England visit Sri Lanka's second largest city (population 120,000) for the first Test of the series.

The Asgiriya International Stadium is located in the heart of Sri Lanka's hill country.

The ground was carved out of the hill behind the pavilion and is recognised as one of cricket's most beautiful venues.

The Buddhist Research Institute neighbours the ground so there are often a few orange-clad young monks huddled together observing the action.

England beat Sri Lanka in March 2001 in Kandy thanks to a resilient century from Nasser Hussain at his dogged best.

The pitch, with its extra bounce, can offer more assistance to the pace bowlers than any other in Sri Lanka, especially when clouds hug the surrounding hills.

Kandy's altitude of over 500m above sea level means the players and spectators do not normally have to deal with heat as intense as at other venues on the island.

There are not too many Tests left to be played at the Asgiriya as a new stadium in nearby Pallekele is expected to be ready by 2011 when Sri Lanka co-host the World Cup along with India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.


Colombo

Sri Lanka's record: Played 30, won 15, lost 7, drawn 8
England's record: Played 3, won 1, lost 2

One of three international venues in Colombo, the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground remains the administrative centre for cricket on the island.

The Sinhalese Sports Club ground in Colombo
Sri Lanka have enjoyed plenty of success at the SSC ground

But without floodlights and a capacity of only 10,000 it has been overtaken by the nearby Premadasa Stadium as the premier cricket ground in Sri Lanka.

Most spectators watch the action from grassy banks exposed to the elements, though there will be some covered seating - and even air-conditioning - for England fans on tour packages.

Since losing the series decider to England in 2001 at the SSC, Sri Lanka have embarked on an awesome run of success at the ground which has brought them 10 wins, a draw against Pakistan and a lone defeat to Australia.

Many of Sri Lanka's current players have enjoyed great success there.

Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene put on an eye-watering 624 runs in a single partnership against South Africa in July 2006.

Muttiah Muralitharan has taken a whopping 143 wickets on the ground, and Chaminda Vaas 77.

When England arrived there in 2001, the series was locked at 1-1, and Ashley Giles took 4-11 as Sri Lanka were bowled out for just 81 in their second innings before Graham Thorpe's unbeaten 32 got England over the winning line.

However, two-and-a-half years later Michael Vaughan's men were annihilated by an innings and 215 runs.


Galle

Sri Lanka's record: Played 11, won 6, lost 2, drawn 3
England's record: Played 2, won 0, lost 1, drawn 1

Emotions will run high when cricket returns to Galle International Stadium three years after the coastal town was devastated by the Boxing Day tsunami.

The Galle outfield before the tsunami struck Sri Lanka
The Galle outfield before the tsunami struck Sri Lanka

After initial doubts as to whether the ground should be rebuilt at all, president Mahinda Rajapaksa ruled the symbolic value of the stadium was such that it had to be returned to its former glory.

"When we start playing we will be thinking of the fans who won't be there, who would have been there if it wasn't for the disaster," said captain Mahela Jayawardene.

Groundsman Jayanandra Warnaweera, the former Sri Lanka off-spinner, is working with 700 staff in a desperate bid to get the outfield and wicket ready - by mid-November three stands and the pavilion were merely concrete shells.

Black clay has been laid on top of local red earth to make the Test wicket, with grass seed imported from various parts of the Asia-Pacific rim.

TMS BLOG
BBC Sport's Adam Mountford

The complex recipe is likely to keep this an archetypal Sri Lankan slow, low surface which takes spin.

Muralitharan has taken 87 wickets in the 11 Tests played there, including his 400th in Test cricket.

England have never come close to establishing a winning position in their two previous Tests at the venue.



SEE ALSO
England in Sri Lanka 2007
25 Jun 07 |  Cricket


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