By Srian Obeyesekere
International and local cricket matches will recommence in 2021 at the R. Premadasa International Stadium at Khettarama, Maligawatte following total refurbishment of the entire complex by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC).
The facelift to vast dilapidated structures costing an estimated Rs.394 million covered vital stadia components such as the pavilions covering areas such as the Truss and the ‘A’ and ‘B’ upper floors including the iron upper staircases, lighting systems and spectator enclosures. Besides, the seating capacity has been increased with 3000 new seats and a further 5000 seats in the concrete enclosures having come into place. The facelift to the dilapidated complex was in the wake a of a report sought by Sri Lanka Cricket from professor Sujeewa Lewvan of the Katubedda University consequent to which the refurbishment was entrusted to Sanken Company of the highest CSZ rating following the calling of tenders.
The overhaul after 34 years which was scheduled to be completed much earlier for the resumption of cricket was pushed back by several months due to the outbreak of the COVID 19 pandemic. Prior to 1985 the stadia location was a garbage dumping ground before it was earmarked by former President R. Premadasa for a gigantic international cricket stadium which was completed in 1986.
The Khettarama based complex is the only stadium in the country where cricket matches were staged under floodlights for a record 15 years. The record for the highest Test score was established at this venue.