India's pace-setting venue
Mohali has long provided the standard other Indian grounds have aspired to
Chandigarh, India's first planned city, was designed by the French architect Le Corbusier. It is known for its architecture and urban planning, and fittingly the PCA Stadium, built in 1992, is the first of India's modern cricket arenas, long held up as a showpiece for other associations to emulate.
However, the PCA, and its president IS Bindra, plan to build an ultra-modern stadium at Mullanpur in New Chandigarh, for which they have purchased 42 acres of land.
The venue currently in use is the existing stadium in Mohali, on the outskirts of Chandigarh. What was a swamp with deep ravines 20 years ago was turned into India's best stadium within a span of two years. It is a world-class venue with excellent practice facilities, spectator-friendly outlook, sufficient provisions for the media, and a capacity of 40,000.
The first thing that strikes you about the stadium is how low the light towers are, in view of passing aircraft using the airport nearby. The wicket here used to be pace-friendly, especially in Test matches, but it has transformed itself into a batsman's paradise in recent years.
Australia v West Indies, 1996 World Cup semi-final
The game in which, as Wisden put it, "West Indies pulled off an extraordinary defeat". They needed 43 from nine overs when Shivnarine Chanderpaul fell to trigger an unbelievable collapse. Warne was the chief wrecker, taking three wickets in a three-over spell. Richie Richardson, though, fought on and when he hit the first ball of the final over for a four, West Indies needed six with two wickets in hand, but then Curtly Ambrose was run out and Courtney Walsh was bowled, going for an ugly swipe across the line. And this after West Indies seemed to have it in the bag when they reduced Australia to 15 for 4.
India v Australia, 1996
The first ODI to be played at the stadium after the famous Australia win against West Indies in the World Cup. This time it was Australia who choked . They needed 62 runs in the final 10 overs with six wickets in hand but a collapse left them needing six from the final over with one wicket standing. Sachin Tendulkar brought himself on and appealed for lbw first ball; he did not get it, but Nayan Mongia ran Brad Hogg out as he tried to steal a leg-bye and that did it.
India v Australia, 2009
It was India's game to lose after they restricted Australia to a par total of 250 on a good batting pitch, especially after the fiery start provided by Virender Sehwag. And lose it they did as Australia won the vital moments during the chase. Like in the previous ODI of the series in Vadodara, Harbhajan Singh and Praveen Kumar threatened to pull off a heist; like in Vadodara, they failed.
Top performers in ODIs
Most runs Sachin Tendulkar, 366 runs at 56.20 | Top score AB de Villiers, 134 v Netherlands
Most wickets Harbhajan Singh, 11 wickets at 24 | Best bowling Makhaya Ntini, 5 for 21 v Pakistan
Home team Punjab have won the Ranji Trophy once, in 1992-93. They entered the final in 2004-05 season where they lost to Railways. The best that the local IPL team, Kings XI Punjab, did was reach the semis in the first season of the tournament.
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More in Chandigarh
Zinc (Tel 91-9914449022), with its subdued lighting and retro/lounge/trance music, is a great place to put your feet up.
You must go boating on the Sukhna Lake and visit the Rock Garden nearby. If you like to shop, head to the Sector 17 or Sector 22 markets. And enjoy a late-night meal at the food street outside Panjab University.
Tips for Travellers
Langar is the food served in a gurudwara. It is free of cost and very tasty. You must try it, and maybe even offer to serve food to others, as many people from the Sikh community do.