After two Tests, both in Chepauk, Chennai, India and England are tied 1-1. They now move to the newly laid Sardar Patel (Gujarat) Stadium, Motera, Ahmedabad, for the last two Tests of the series, the first of which will be played under lights. Ahead of the Test matches, here are some facts about the two venues in the city.
Record in the making
With a capacity of 110,000 people, the venue is the second-largest in the world, only after the Rungrado 1st of May Stadium in Pyongyang. At 100,024, Melbourne Cricket Ground is the second-largest cricket stadium. However, Covid-19 precautions will restrict the capacity of the ground to fifty per cent.
International cricket has been two venues in Ahmedabad, both of which were named after the same person. The first, Sardar Vallabhai Patel Stadium, had hosted two Women’s Test match and – as is common knowledge – the first ever ODI on Indian soil, in 1981/82. The second stadium came into use from 1983/84, and has hosted all three formats of international cricket.
The Gavaskar moments
India played their first ever Test match at the venue against West Indies. Over the course of the innings, Sunil Gavaskar went past Geoff Boycott’s world record aggregate of 8,114 runs and became the leading run-scorer in Test cricket.
Four seasons later, against Pakistani, Gavaskar became the first to score 10,000 Test runs. The bowler was Ijaz Faqih. Gavaskar’s celebratory raise of the bat remains one of the most iconic photographs of Indian cricket.
The Kapil moments
In the same 1983/84 Test match, Kapil Dev bowled unchanged throughout the West Indies second innings to finish with figures of 30.3-6-83-9. This remains the longest spell by a fast bowler in Test cricket as well as the best figures by an Indian fast bowler in the format.
Just over a decade after this, Kapil had Hashan Tillakaratne caught by Sanjay Manjrekar to pick up his 432nd Test wicket. He went past Richard Hadlee’s world record aggregate of 431.
Motera also witnessed the tournament opener of the 1996 World Cup; VVS Laxman’s Test debut and India’s first win against South Africa in Test cricket (in 1996/97); and Sachin Tendulkar’s first double-hundred (against New Zealand in 1999/00).
On February 24, 2020, exactly a day before the scheduled start of the upcoming Test match, the venue hosted Namaste Trump, an event featuring Narendra Modi, Indian Prime Minister, and Donald Trump, then President of the USA.
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