England in Sri Lanka 2014-15 December 14, 2014

The ground which gave cricket Kumar Sangakkara

There is one international cricket ground where it is okay to make schoolboy errors. That's because the Asgiriya Stadium in Kandy is home to the teams of Trinity College, who have played at the picturesque location chiseled out of the hillside for almost

Asgiriya hosted Sri Lanka's second Test, in 1983, and was the venue where Muttiah Muralitharan overtook Shane Warne as the leading wicket-taker in Tests, in 2007 © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

There is one international cricket ground where it is okay to make schoolboy errors. That's because Asgiriya Stadium in Kandy is home to the teams of Trinity College, who have played at the picturesque location chiseled out of the hillside for almost 100 years.

Asgiriya was the venue for Sri Lanka's second home Test, in 1983, and saw Muttiah Muralitharan break Shane Warne's record for the most Test wickets in 2007, but it has not hosted an international match since then. With Trinity's numerous age-group sides all vying to play there, SLC decided that rather than studying the college timetables, they would build a new stadium down the road in Pallekele.

When I arrive, a school match is underway, Trinity's second XI against their equivalents from Maris Stella College in Negombo. The curator, Abhayasena Wijeweera, is happy to chat about the ground and its history, which he knows well despite only being in the job eight months, having moved from the nearby Dharmaraja College. The pitch, he says, is still good for international competition.

"We leave a bit of grass on, so it gives a little bit for fast bowlers as well as spinners," he says. "The pitch has to be good, because the boys who play on it could go on to represent Sri Lanka. We have three Under-13 teams, three Under-15 teams, two Under-17s teams and then the Under-19s, the first team. The best go on to international level."

He is not overstating things. The most famous Old Trinitian is Kumar Sangakkara, who grew up playing here. He is one of the few sportsmen in the world who can say they have been involved in an international match on their school ground. Ravi Ratnayeke, who was among the first wave for Sri Lanka when they won Test status in 1982, also went to Trinity, as did Kaushalya Weeraratne and the current Test wicketkeeper, Niroshan Dickwella.

There are seven pitches on the Asgiriya square, the majority turf, but they have also laid a clay strip alongside one for matting. The roller is pushed by hand and 65-year-old Wijeweera, who is here most days, pulls out his key to check the cracks in a time-honoured fashion. He demonstrates bouncing a cricket ball on the surface, which he says should spring back up to waist height. There is also an indoor facility, although the bowling machine is currently away for repairs. Apparently Sangakkara still comes for a net from time to time.

Up in the main stand, near the changing rooms, there is a picture on the wall of the Sri Lanka and England A sides from a series in 1986. Seated together in rows, Arjuna Ranatunga and Aravinda de Silva smile out from the photograph, alongside Mark Nicholas, Jonathan Agnew, Derek Pringle. Another photo shows the Test team which beat Zimbabwe in 1998. Slightly further along, displayed like a museum piece, is Asgiriya's first lawnmower, from 1943.

Totally different from the majority of modern stadia, Asgiriya is infinitely more charming - if also a little decrepit. Imagine a bustling crowd, the sound of a band playing, and the old place would surely spring to life.

Those who tend to the old place include TG Nimal, the grandson of the original head groundsman. They are proud of its heritage, understandably, and have not given up hope that Sri Lanka will return to play here again. There is a whisper that one of the Tests against India next year could take place at Asgiriya; if Sangakkara plays on, it could be the perfect setting for his farewell. Trinity might have to excuse some class-cutting for that.

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick

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