Pitch report: R Premadasa Stadium

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This venue is not known for having a deck that produces a lot of pace, and it's not a flat track like the one in Galle, which saw both sides pad their batting averages nicely on the way to a stalemate.

<b>Established: </b>1986<br><b>Formerly known as:</b> Khetterama Cricket Stadium (prior to 1994)<br><b>Capacity:</b> 35,000<br><b>Floodlights:</b> Yes<br><b>Ends:</b> Khettarama End, Scoreboard End<br><b>Test History:</b> Seven Tests; two home wins, one away win, four draws<br><b>Last 7 tosses:</b> FIve batted first (two wins, three draws), two fielded first (one win, one draw)

<b>Overview:</b>
Named after former Sri Lanka president Ranasinghe Premadasa, who was the driving force behind the construction of the ground, the RPS is located in the Khetterama area of Colombo. One of four Test grounds in Colombo, the RPS has in the past been overlooked in favour of the Sinhalese Sports Club and P Sara Oval but underwent a major overhaul ahead of the 2011 World Cup, with seven matches taking place at the ground.

The biggest stadium in Sri Lanka, the 35,000-seater bowl-shaped stadium is primarily used for limited overs cricket thanks in part to the presence of floodlights, a rarity in Sri Lanka. Ninety-four ODIs have been played at the RPS since its inception, with Test cricket only gracing the ground on six occasions in the same period.

Traditionally the RPS has offered flat, slow pitches which offer plenty of run scoring opportunities for batsmen. This was especially evident in the 1997 Test match between Sri Lanka and India in which Sri Lanka recorded the highest Test total in history, a mammoth 952 for six of which Sanath Jayasuriya (340) and Roshan Mahanama (225) contributed 576 for the second wicket, the highest partnership for any wicket in Test cricket.

<b>Last Time Out:</b>

The most recent Test played here was in November 2010, where Sri Lanka and the West Indies played to a dull draw, and Kumar Sangakkara's 150 was the most memorable part of the match.

The hosts won the toss and chose to bat first, scoring 387 for nine. Day one lost a lot of time thanks to rain, so the Sri Lankan first innings went into day three, with Sanga's 150 and Thilan Samaraweera's 80 making up most of the score.

The Windies then hobbled to 243 all out, with Carlton Baugh and Darren Bravo scoring half centuries. Day four was washed out with the visitors still batting, so day five was a random collection of declarations and short innings.

Sri Lanka went in to bat just after tea, and put on 57 for one before declaring, leaving the Windies a target of 202 in the final hour of play. Needless to say, they didn't get there, and were 12 for two at the close.

<b>They Said:</b>

Kumar Sangakkara, after Windies Test: "It was a tough decision to bat first, we knew it would be difficult for about four hours, it paid off as we went past 350. It was a tough hundred for me, the wicket was slow, I am pretty satisfied as playing strokes was difficult."

He added: "It would have been great to see our spinners working on it. We hardly played two-and-a-half-days cricket on this wicket and it's almost turning square."

<b>Happy Hunting Ground:</b>

Given that this ground isn't used for Tests very often, it's not surprising that Kumar Sangakkara is the most accomplished here of the current lot, and he is well down the list. He has an average of 90 here, thanks to his 150 in the most recent outting, though he has only played here twice.

There are no Bangladeshis on either the batting or bowling charts, as the last time they played here was in 2005 and none of the current crop, aside from Mohammad Ashraful, were on the scene then.

As for the bowlers, the only player in double figures in terms of wickets is Muttiah Muralitharan, who has 36, and the next best is Pakistan's Saqlain Mushtaq on nine. Of the current lot, Rangana Herath is third on the list with seven wickets in two games.

<b>Weather Forecast:</b>

Rain is set to feature on all five days of this Test, in varying degrees. Day one should see thundershowers in the afternoon, while the other four days are scheduled for a bit of rain after lunch or tea.

<b>Conclusion:</b>

This venue is not known for having a deck that produces a lot of pace, and it's not a flat track like the one in Galle, which saw both sides pad their batting averages nicely on the way to a stalemate.

In this instance, Sri Lanka's experience should count in their favour, given their superior ranking and the chance of Herath and Ajantha Mendis taking many of the wickets. The Tigers will look to Sohag Gazi's spin to put them in a strong position, provided the weather plays along.

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