A peek at picturesque Galle
Ends: City End, Fort End
Home Team: Galle Cricket Club
Test History: 25 Tests; 14 home wins; 5 away wins; 6 draws
Last 10 Tests: 7 home wins; 2 away wins; 2 draws
Last 10 tosses: 10 batted first (8 wins, 2 loss)
Rated as one of the most picturesque grounds in world cricket, the Galle International Stadium is cornered on two sides by the ocean – and overseen by a 16th century Dutch fort. After making its Test debut in 1998, the ground was largely destroyed by the horrific tsunami which struck the region in December 2004.
With politics at boardroom level of Sri Lankan Cricket casting doubt over the ground's future, it took donations from the likes of Ian Botham and Shane Warne – who had taken his 500th Test wicket here – to get the stadium's redevelopment back on track.
It eventually completed its recovery in December 2007, when England took on Sri Lanka in the 12th Test to be played at the stadium.
Before the disaster Galle had been a stronghold for Sri Lanka, who had only lost to Australia and Pakistan as the spin-friendly pitch worked in the hosts' favour.
Not surprisingly, then, Galle has been a successful venue for the veteran Muttiah Muralitharan. The ground will be remembered as the venue of the off-spinner's 133rd and final Test match, a game in which he claimed a match haul of eight wickets to end his career with a record 800 Test scalps.
Last Time Out
The most recent Test in Galle was in June when Sri Lanka hosted India in the first Test of a three-match series. The game was remembered for spinner Rangana Herath going wild in the last innings of the match.
The home team won the toss and unsurprisingly decided to bat first but did not take advantage of the better batting as they were bundled out for just 183, with India spinner Ravi Ashwin taking six wickets.
The visitors replied with 375 thanks to centuries from skipper Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan to hold a commanding lead of 192 runs after the first innings.
Dinesh Chandimal then played arguably the best innings of his career to date when struck a brilliant 162 not out for Sri Lanka in their second innings as they were bowled out for 367 to set India a tricky target 176.
Herath then ripped through the visitors line-up, recording figures of seven for 48 to bowl the Sri Lankans to a famous 63-run win.
Virat Kohli said after India's defeat: "I don't think the wicket had too many demons in it, cricket is a game of pressure, when the pressure is mounted on you, the wicket looks difficult. If it's not, it looks easy.
"The wicket did not really change much in all the four innings, to be honest. The turn and the bounce was pretty consistent throughout."
Happy Hunting Ground
THe top two run-scorers at the ground are two Sri Lanka legends, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, who both have more than 1800 runs at the venue.
The only member of the current Sri Lanka squad who has decent record at the Galle is captain Angelo Mathews, who has scored 791 runs in 12 Tests at an average of 49.43.
Herath has a good record at Galle having taken 68 wickets in 13 matches so far, which is the second most at the venue behind only the legendary Muttiah Muralitharan, who, for the record, took 11 wickets in 15 games.
Rain is forecast for every one of the five days of the Test so expect there to be interruptions in play for the duration for the Test.
The Galle surface is traditionally spin friendly with the Herath, in particular, posing as the big threat to the West Indies.
The first three days of the Test is when the batsman should cash in and score big runs.
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