Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium better known as SooriyawewInternational Cricket Stadiumand abbreviately as MRIC Stadium, is an international cricket stadium in Hambantota, Sri Lanka. It was built for the 2011 Cricket World Cup and hosted two matches, the first being Sri Lanka against Canada, on 20 February 2011. The stadium has a capacity of 35,000 people making It the second largest stadium in Sri Lanka.
With low coverage of international matches in very rural area, it has come under extreme criticism and has been called a white elephant as only a few matches are held in the stadium considering the extreme costs for construction and maintenance. The ministers of opposition criticize that former government has hidden the true story of actual cost for its construction. To gain revenue the Stadium is often hired out for wedding receptions however Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has proposed that the stadium should be used for training purposes to gain revenue.
In 2016, after the inspections by Sri Lanka Cricket, president Thilanga Sumathipala pointed out that the walls, carpets, furniture and equipment in the stadium are in a severe state of neglect and deterioration without any attempt to revive the facility to its earlier status.
- On 18 September 2012 = 6/8 by Ajantha Mendis against Zimbabwe, is the best bowling figure in Twenty20 International history.
- On 26 July 2015 = Tillakaratne Dilshan of Sri Lanka joined 10,000 ODI run club, becoming 11th overall to achieve the feat.
- On 8 July 2017 = Niroshan Dickwella and Danushka Gunathilaka of Sri Lanka became the first pair to make back-to-back double-century partnerships in ODIs.
- On 10 July 2017 = Zimbabwe recorded their first ODI series win against Sri Lanka.
World Cup Cricket
In 2011, Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium hosted two successful world cup matches.
ICC World Twenty20
Sri Lanka hosted the 2012 ICC World Twenty20. Three matches were played at Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium. Other matches were played at R. Premadasa Stadium and Pallekele International Cricket Stadium.
The proposal for a new International Cricket Stadium at Sooriyawewa was part of the government’s programme to develop sports in the Southern Province of Sri Lanka as part of the government’s plan to transform Hambantota into the second major urban hub of Sri Lanka, away from Colombo.
The following 2011 Cricket World Cup matches were held at Hambantota International Cricket Stadium in February, 2011. The first official international match was between Sri Lanka and Canada on 20 February 2011, which Sri Lanka won by 210 runs. Two matches were played at the venue during the World Cup.
The Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium hosted three 2012 ICC World Twenty20 matches. The curator of the ground is Ravi Dissanayake and Manager is Colonel Shanaka Ratnayake.