Hopes to be ready to host England in December 2007 May 10, 2006

Reconstruction begins at Galle Stadium

The reconstruction bill for the new stadium is approximately US$3million © Sri Lanka Cricket

The reconstruction of Galle International Stadium commenced this week with a ceremonial laying of a foundation stone on Monday morning. The new stadium will be ready in 2007 and could stage a Test against England in December, the first since being hit by the Asian tsunami .

The reconstruction bill for the new stadium is approximately US$3million and Jayanda Warnaweera, the venue's curator and the chairman of the Southern Province Cricket Association, will lead the reconstruction development team. Jeewan Kumaratunga, the sports minister and chief guest, laid the foundation stone at the auspicious time of 8.30 am.

The stadium will be upgraded with a new pavilion capable of seating 2000 spectators, which will also include enlarged dressing rooms for the players and officials, as well as a new media centre. A new electronic scorecard will be installed and the indoor nets will be repaired.

The Galle International Stadium was devastated by the Asian tsunami © Getty Images

"The work has started and the construction on the new pavilion will begin in June," Warnaweera told Cricinfo. "The entire project will take 12 months and we are hoping to be ready to host England at the end of 2007."

The entire playing area is to be dug-up to allow for the installation of new drainage and an automated sprinkler system. The outfield will then be re-sown with a thin Australian grass. The views of the 350-year-old Dutch Fort and the Indian Ocean will be retained with grassy banks for sun-lounging spectators.

A new addition, which will pave the way for the return of one-day international cricket in Galle, will be retractable floodlights.

Charlie Austin is Cricinfo's Sri Lankan correspondent