A swamp on the outskirts of Chandigarh, the capital of the north Indian states of Punjab and Haryana was transformed in the mid-1990s into one of the world’s best cricket grounds. The sporting wickets, lush green outfield, spacious dressing-rooms, excellent practice-facilities and state-of-the-art gymnasium at the PCA Stadium have been hailed by cricketers the world over.
The PCA Stadium made its ODI debut in 1993-94 and Test debut a year later. Like its counterparts in Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad (Lal Bahadur Stadium) and Gwalior, it made its day-night debut in the 1996 World Cup. Australia were the favourites when their openers walked in at the start of the second semi-final of the tournament. The West Indies, their opponents, had not reached a World Cup semi-final since 1983 and had in fact lost to Kenya earlier in the tournament. Not many expected them to halt the Australians’ march but Curtly Ambrose and Ian Bishop had other ideas. They reduced Australia to 15-4 and youngsters Michael Bevan and Stuart Law played the innings of their lives to take their team to 207. The West Indies batted confidently in response. At the end of the 41st over, they were 165-2, needing 43 from 54 balls with eight wickets in hand. When Shivnarine Chanderpaul fell for a magnificent 80, his team management seemed to have panicked, and shuffled the batting order. Mark Taylor, one of the canniest captains of all time, sensed an opening, as did his team. What ensued was one of the sensational turnarounds in the history of limited-overs cricket. The West Indies declined to 197-8 by the end of the 49th over and eventually lost by five runs.
The venue has hosted sixteen one-day internationals and is the home-ground of the Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League.
A unique feature of the arena is the presence of 16 low-level floodlights, a consequence of the ground’s proximity to an Indian Air Force base. There is accordingly a restriction on the height of structures in the vicinity.