Punjab Cricket Association Stadium | india | Hindustan Times
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Punjab Cricket Association Stadium

What was a swamp with deep ravines in 1992 was turned into India's best stadium within a span of two years.

india Updated: Oct 09, 2006 14:43 IST

The sprawling Punjab Cricket Association stadium re placed the picturesque Sector 16 stadium as Chandigarh's cricket arena in 1993-94. Built on marshy land in Mohali, eight kilometres away from the main city, the PCA stadium quickly established a reputation as one of the best cricket grounds in India. The lush green outfield is complemented by a 'sporting' wicket that has provided some encouragement to bowlers.

The ugly barbed fences that separate spectators from the playing area in most Indian stadia are non-existent here, and a moat runs along the periphery of the ground instead. The facilities for the players are excellent; spacious dressing-rooms, a modern gymnasium and practice wickets. Another unique feature of the ground is its floodlights.

Its proximity to an Indian Air Force base implied certain height-restrictions. It is the only cricket ground in the world to have as many as twelve light-towers of medium-height. The ground has staged seven Tests and nine ODIs so far. By far, the best game to be played here was the semi-final of the 1996 World Cup between Australia and the West Indies.

The Windies needed only 43 to win in 54 balls with eight wickets in hand, when they committed harakiri and lost by five runs. The last ODI to be played here was dominated by the bowlers. Irfan Pathan (4-37) and local lad Harbhajan Singh (2-19) terminated the Sri Lankan innings for a mere 122 in the second ODI in the 2005-06 series.

The home team proceeded to knock off the runs with nearly thirty overs to spare. The PCA stadium will host five matches now, including the inaugural between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, and the first semi final. Fans from Pakistan will have the opportunity to cross the border to watch their team take on New Zealand and South Africa at this venue.