KANPUR (TIP): The Green Park stadium – which has not hosted a Test match in seven years – will become part of cricketing history when it hosts the opening Test against New Zealand from September 22. The Test will be India’s 500th since the journey began at Lord’s against England on June 25, 1932. The Green Park last hosted a Test in 2009, when India played Sri Lanka. To mark the occasion, the Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association (UPCA) has decided to honour some former Indian captains during the game.
The Green Park – although not in the same league as some other illustrious Test venues in India – has scripted its own memorable story over the years. Among the many games it has hosted are the 1959 Test against Richie Benaud’s Australia – when off-spinner Jasu Patel bagged 14 wickets to fashion a 119-win run for the hosts – and the 1983 Test against West Indies. After India had snatched the World Cup away from the West Indies, Clive Lloyd and his boys were on a revenge mission. A little bit of grass on the pitch was enough for the dangerous duo of Malcolm Marshall and Michael Holding to blast the Indians away and register an innings-and-83-run win. Old-timers will remember Sunil Gavaskar losing his bat while defending a Marshall snorter in this game.
Hosting its maiden Test against England way back in 1945, the ground has had a roller-coaster ride over the years. Once in the big leagues one of the five permanent Test centres of the country, the stadium has steadily fallen off the radar since 1974-75, when Chinnaswamy stadium, Bangalore was chosen to host West Indies instead of Green Park.
GREEN PARK BY NUMBERS
21 Test matches played India won 6, lost 3, drawn 12
1st Test: India vs England; January 12-14, 1952
1st ball faced: Pankaj Roy
1st ball bowled: Brian Statham
1st wicket to fall: Vinoo Mankad
Last Test played: India vs Sri Lanka from Nov 24-27, 2009