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Champions Trophy Grounds


ICC_Champions_Trophy_cricket_logoThe tournament of champions is just about to begin. ICC Champions Trophy will start on 1st June with the opening match to be played between the hosts and Bangladesh at the historic Oval in London. The matches in this edition of the Champions Trophy will be played at three venues: The Oval and Edgbaston in England, and Sophia Gardens in Wales. We will look at the history and heritage of these three grounds.

1. The Oval: End Names- Vauxhall End and Pavilion End

The Oval is home to Surrey County Cricket Club. It is situated in Kennington, the southern part of London. It was the first ground in England to host international Test cricket in September 1880. Usually the last test of English summer is played at the Oval.

This ground has witnessed many historic matches. Most prominently, this is the ground where the legend of the Ashes was born, after England lost to Australia by 6 runs in August 1882. Chasing only 85 to win, England slumped from 51-2 to 78 all out. The next morning The Sporting Times published its famous mock obituary for English cricket, which eventually led to the creation of Ashes trophy.

The Oval has witnessed many historic matches. England's dramatic one-wicket win in 1902 inspired by Gilbert Jessop's sensational hundred; Australia's 701 in 1930 as Don Bradman (244) and Bill Ponsford (266) put on 451 for the second wicket; England's 903 for 7 in 1938 as they beat Australia by an innings and 579 runs; Bradman's farewell duck in 1948 and Michael Holding's 14 wickets on a featherbed in 1976. 

The first One Day International at this venue was played on 7 September 1973 between England and West Indies. It hosted matches of the 1975, 1979, 1983, and 1999 World Cups, the final of 2004 Champions trophy and Semi-Final of 2013 Champions trophy. The final of current edition is scheduled to be played at the Oval.

It has hosted many other important sporting occasions and can claim to be the most important general sports ground in the world. It hosted England's first international football match in 1870, versus Scotland and hosted the first FA Cup final in 1872. In 1876, it staged two rugby internationals, the first between England v Wales and second between England v Scotland. 

It usually has a batting friendly surface which supports reverse swing as the game progresses. Among all England ground, this is the one where the ball reverse swings most.

2. Edgbaston: End names- Birmingham End and Pavilion End

Situated in the southern suburb of Birmingham, Edgbaston is home to the Warwickshire County Cricket Club. It has hosted more T20 domestic finals day than any other cricket ground. Edgbaston was also the first English ground outside London to host a major international one day tournament final when it hosted the final of 2013 ICC Champions Trophy. 2nd SF of current edition will be played at Edgbaston.

Edgbaston was the venue of the first senior game under floodlights in English cricket and will host the first day/night Test match in England in August 2017 when England play the West Indies.

Edgbaston also has a variety of conference and banqueting halls available for a variety of events and has an award-winning catering team. Edgbaston hosts an annual firework display during bonfire night week.

Edgbaston has witnessed some of the great moments in cricket. Brian Lara amassed 501*, the highest individual score in any form of first class cricket at this very ground in 1994 against Durham. The famous tie of 1999 World Cup between Australia and South Africa was also played here. Australians were bowled out for 36, their lowest score in test cricket in 1902 which was the first test played at the ground. 

Edgbaston has one of the best facilities available for the cricketers and for the spectators. Wisden's guide to cricket grounds in 1992 commented that "Lord's is really its only superior in the United Kingdom" with The Daily Telegraph agreeing in 2009 that "taken all in all, it is now the best ground outside Lord's".

The ground also has a museum and a library. Museum holds the club's collection of cricketing memorabilia.

The pitch offers the movement, off the surface and in the air for seam bowlers. At the start of the season it tends to have some dampness which eases out as the season progresses.

3. Sophia Gardens: End names- River Taff End and Cathedral Road End

Sophia Gardens also known as The SWALEC Stadium (SSE SWALEC since 2015) for sponsorship reasons, is situated on the banks of River Taff in Cardiff, Wales. It is home to Glamorgan County Cricket Club, though the county played its first game here in 1967 but it officially became county’s home in 1995 when a 125-year lease was acquired. 

It has since become a regular host for one day internationals. It hosted its first ODI in 1999 between Australia and New Zealand which was a World Cup fixture. Though it was a regular venue for ODIs, England played its first ODI here in August 2006, seven years after its inception. The ground witnessed one of the biggest one day upsets when Bangladesh beat Australia by 5 wickets in 2005.

The first test at the ground was played between England and Australia which was the opening fixture of 2009 Ashes. There was speculation that ECB chose this venue in order to nullify Australian pace battery as the pitch was expected to play slow and low. It proved true in the end as the Aussie bowlers couldn’t bowl England out in 105 overs in the last innings. The last pair of James Anderson and Monty Panesar survived 11.3 overs and match ended in a draw. 

The current capacity of the ground is 12000 and the county is planning to expand it further. The ground has floodlights. It will host the first SF of the 2017 Champions Trophy.


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