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Galle Stadium - happy hunting ground of Lanka

Sri Lanka already one up in the three match series will return to their happy hunting ground - the Galle International Stadium to play their second Test against the touring Indian team which gets under way on Thursday.

Sri Lanka have maintained an impressive record at this World famous picturesque venue where the home side have won eighty percent of the test matches played so far.

After it was destroyed during the December 2004 tsunami the Galle International Stadium was rebuilt with the help of cricketing great such as Sir Ian Botham and Shane Warne who incidentally captured his 500th test wicket at this same venue in March 2004.

Three years after the tsunami the Galle Stadium was restored to its former glory in time to host the third test match against England in December 2007.

The Galle Stadium is one of the most picturesque world cricketing venues where the stadium is overlooked by the 16th Century Dutch Galle Fort and flanked by the balmy blue sea.

This is also considered as Sri Lanka's lucky ground where they have lost only twice out of their 12 outings since the first test match was played here against New Zealand in June 1998 where the home side triumphed by a massive margin of an innings and 16 runs.

Thereafter Sri Lanka have gone onto beat South Africa (2000), England (2001), India (2001), West Indies (2001) and Zimbabwe (2002) quite convincingly.

Their only two defeats were against Pakistan (2000) and Australia (2004).

The Galle International Stadium has also turned out to be a happy haunting ground for Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardena and spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan who is just nine scalps away from completing one hundred wickets at this venue.

Out of the 12 outings Muralitharan has so far captured 91 wickets at a splendid average of 16.50 and has claimed a matchbag of ten wickets on four occasions.

In fact Muralitharan has the best bowling figures in an innings at this venue - 7 for 46 against England in 2003 and also the best bowling figures in a match - 13 for 171 against South Africa in 2000.

Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardena also has happy memories at the Galle Stadium where he has scored over one thousand runs at a staggering average of 99.21.

The 31 year old right hander holds the record for the highest individual score here where he hammered a magnificent 237 against South Africa in 2004.

Former Sri Lanka captain Marvan Atapattu is the only other player to have scored a double century at the Galle Stadium.

Jayawardena has so far accumulated a total of 1389 runs from 12 matches with four centuries and six half centuries.

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