Cricket is nearly a religion in Sri Lanka. Yes young boys play soccer on the beach and on areas of green, but it is cricket that is upper most in their hearts. For a small country the Sri Lankan Cricket team have achieved success on the international sports field.
Galle International Cricket Stadium in Sri Lanka
It is a big moral boost to the whole country if they beat their old colonial power England or there big near neighbour India on the field of cricket. The southern Sri Lankan port city of Galle's international Cricket Stadium is one of the most scenic in the world.
To the east there is the palm tree lined port of Galle. To the south there are the war memorial and old defensive rampart sea walls of old Dutch Galle Fort. On the west side there is the attractive waterside Dharmapala Park. The stadium buildings hide the urban sprawl of central Galle.
The high rampart walls of Galle Fort saved most of the old Dutch colonial heritage buildings from the devastation of the Boxing day Tsunami wave when it hit Galle in 2004. Galle's International Cricket Stadium ceased to exist along with many buildings along the coast. Thousands of people died.
Galle international Cricket stadium viewed from the top of the fort wall in Sri Lanka
For some time, the future of this great cricket venue was in doubt. There was lots of bickering by the politicians, but thanks to support from well-known Cricket stars money was raised to enable the ground to be rebuilt from scratch.
If you are lucky enough to be visiting Galle when there is a cricket match on do try and obtain seats if only to soak up the holiday atmosphere in the crowd. For those who do not know the rules of cricket I will try to give a very basic outline in plain English. In the middle of the large grass oval are two sets of three stumps. On which are balanced two pieces of wood. These are called the 'wickets'.
The batting team score, called 'runs' each time the batsmen run between the two wickets. That part is simple to understand. If the ball is hit over the oval boundary without touching the ground the batsman scores six points. If it is hit over the oval boundary but has hit the ground first then it is only worth four points.
The team that is bowling the ball to the batsmen want to get them out of the game. This can be down a number of ways. The first way is if the ball that has been hit by the batsmen is caught. The second way is if the bowler hits the wicket behind the batsmen with the ball so that one of the two lumps of wood balanced on the three sticks fall off. The third way is if the ball hits the batsmen's leg that was in front of the wicket. The fourth way is if the lumps of wood balanced on the three sticks is knocked off by the ball being thrown at it by a member of the opposing team whilst the two batsmen are still running between the two wickets. The team with the highest score after all the batsmen have been knocked out of the game wins. There a lot of more rules but that is the quick guide to the rules of cricket.
Galle international Cricket stadium pitch from the fort rampart wall in Sri Lanka