Sri Lanka have been frequent visitors to south India even before they gained Test status having come here for the Gopalan Trophy. In fact, Sri Lanka’s first Test match in India was played in Madras in 1982. However, since they played a Test match in Madras in 2005, a game where a certain M.S. Dhoni made his debut, the national cricket team has never played in that city. In fact, they have not played a Test match in any of the four southern states since 2005.
Political parties in Madras have opposed Sri Lanka playing in Tamil Nadu and fearing the protests might spread to other south Indian states, the team has played all over India except the southern states. But this time a Test match has been slotted to Bangalore, the main city of the southern state of Karnataka.
Bangalore is the home for former India captain and current coach Rahul Dravid. The state has produced other prominent players like Gundappa Viswanath, Anil Kumble, Javagal Srinath, and Venkatesh Prasad.
Bangalore is also the home for the IPL franchise Royal Challengers. The IPL team’s captain Virat Kohli is quite popular here although he is from Delhi.
The Karnataka Cricket Association Stadium is named after M. Chinnaswamy, who was President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India from 1977 to 1980. For four decades he was involved in the administration of the state cricket association as well.
The venue has hosted Test cricket for close to 50 years now.
Sri Lanka played a Test match here in 1994 and were badly beaten – by an innings and 94 runs. It’s a game known for Navjot Singh Sidhu, now a Member of Parliament, being given out lbw when on 99. He was still running to complete the single for the milestone when the umpire raised the finger. Later in the game, Kapil Dev equalled Sri Richard Hadlee’s tally of 431 wickets, and in the next Test match in Ahmedabad went on to become the World Record holder for most wickets in Test cricket.
On this tour, Sri Lanka lost the first Test by an innings and 222 runs, their third-worst defeat in history. Dimuth Karunaratne’s side will be hoping for a better show in the second Test after a poor batting display in Mohali.
This will be a pink ball day-night Test match that’s expected to draw a full house. The Test match starts on Saturday.