Sooriyawewa set to become Sri Lanka’s eighth Test venue
A view of the Sooriyawewa Stadium when it will be completed.
Pictures by Sudath Malaweera
The Sooriyawewa International Cricket Stadium in Hambantota is well
set to become Sri Lanka’s eighth Test venue when the West Indies tour
the island later this year.
This will be Sri Lanka’s third floodlit international cricket stadium
which is been constructed to coincide with the 2011 International
Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup.
The Stadium will host two World Cup matches on February 20, 2011
between Sri Lanka and Canada followed by the second game between Kenya
and Pakistan on February 23.
This cricket stadium situated in the remote area of Meegahajandura
off Sooriyawewa, approximately eight kilo metres from the emerging
commercial hub of Hambantota, is the brainchild of Namal Rajapaksa
Chairman Tharunyata Hetak Youth Movement.
This is considered as one of the major projects in the Hambantota
area where a several other developments are also initiated by the
present government of Sri Lanka and the first phase of construction
began on May 17.
Among the other development projects, the proposed international
Airport is situated just 11 kilometres away from the international
Incidentally this is the second international cricket stadium in the
dry zone apart from Dambulla. However unlike Dambulla there are many
things to offer in and around the Hambantota area.
Work in progress at the ground
The other significance is that it is just 70 kilometres to reach
Nuwara Eliya from Sooriyawewa.
Meanwhile plans are underway to include a hotel school, an
international standard library, a vocational training centre and a fully
fledged information technology centre around the area where the stadium
is to come up.
This stadium will also be a great opportunity for 18 cricket playing
schools in the area where the cricketers have not had the privilege to
play on turf wickets. This ground will be very helpful for the young
cricketers in the area. The present location for the proposed stadium is
situated on a 47-acre land. The location will be accessible from three
major towns in the area covering the Uva, Sabaragamuwa and the Southern
This stadium is part of the future developments in the Hambantota
area and its suburbs and the construction of the stadium began soon
after the project obtained the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
The first phase of the stadium will include the dressing rooms for
the teams and umpire rooms are set to complete. The Sri Lanka Army
worked until the first phase was completed and from then the China
Harbour Engineering Company took over to add the spectator stands.
The stadium is expected to fulfill the ICC requirement of holding at
least 30,000 spectators. The stadium will hold three mega scoreboards
which will be elevated above the spectator stands.
The main scoreboard is proposed to be manually controlled while the
other two are state-of-the-art digital scoreboards. The main idea of
having all scoreboards above the stands is to accommodate the maximum
number of spectators.
The grandstand alone will hold 8,000 spectators while a further 4,000
seats are to be completed with the first phase. Totally 20,000 permanent
seats will be fixed while the standing pavilions will have the capacity
to hold 15,000 spectators.
The floodlights are the main feature of the stadium and once totally
completed it is expected to resemble a pearl shaped object.
In addition the stadium will have an ample supply of water with three
main resources around the site. The closely situated Meegahajandura
Lake, three high capacity tube wells and an agricultural well will
provide the stadium’s water requirements.
In addition a separate line by the Water Board of Sri Lanka will be
provided for consumption purposes.
A car park with the capacity of holding over 300 vehicles at a time
will be set up next to the stadium. The entire project is set to be
completed by October 2010.
Arrangements are also underway to start building at least two star
class hotels in the area before the commencement of the 2011 ICC World
Cup. In addition Star Cruise ships have confirmed that they would dock
one of their luxury ships during the World Cup 2011 in Hambantota
Most of the tourist hotels around the area will be upgraded to 4 or 5
star in the near future. The floodlights will be a main feature apart
from a few other latest additions at this stadium.
The ICC requirements will meet with state-of-the-art umpire’s rooms,
match referees rooms and an anti doping testing room which will be the
latest in the world. Further the stadium will be featured as an
eco-friendly venue which is considered to be one of the first with such