Know all about The Oval, one of the venues for the ICC Twenty20 World Cup 2009.

The Oval

The Oval was set up in 1845. It is operated by Surrey County Cricket Club. It is located at Kennington, London. Owned by Duchy of Cornwall, it was initially a market garden. After the garden failed, it was made into a cricket ground with the help of 10,000 turfs in 1845. It is also known as Brit Oval. The ground has a seating capacity of about 23500. The Oval has the Pavilion End and the Vauxhall End.

In 1880, Oval hosted the first-ever test match on English soil. England won the match against Australia by 5 wickets. The famous English batsman, WG Grace scored a century on debut. Oval became only the second ground to host a test match after MCG, Australia. After two years, in1882. England lost the match to Australia. Needing 85 runs to win, England lost 8 wickets for just 27 runs to be dismissed for 78 runs. The Sporting Times published its famous obituary mocking the team. Thus The Ashes was born. The test series between Australia and England is called The Ashes even today. The Oval has witnessed the first double-century in test cricket. Billy Murdoch of Australia scored it in 1884.

England scored a sensational one-wicket win over Australia in 1902. Donald Bradman scored a double-hundred in the 1930 Ashes series. He put on a 451-run stand with Bill Ponsford for the second wicket. England scored a mammoth 903 runs for the loss of 7 wickets as they inflicted a 579-run innings defeat on Australia in 1938. It was this very ground on which Bradman scored a duck in his final innings in 1948. This has gone down in history books.

South Africa became the second touring team to play a test match here in 1907. West Indians played their first test match at the venue in 1928. India played its first test at this venue in 1936. The first one-day international was played here between England and West Indies in 1973. It has also hosted the finals of the ICC Champions Trophy in 2004.The ground was used as a home to Prisoners-of-War during World War II.

There was a need to redevelop the stadium by 2002. Surrey began the redevelopment of the Vauxhall stand. Four old stands were converted into a single four-tier grandstand and was named the OCS stand. After the completion of the work in 2005, the seating capacity was increased to 23,000. The Oval has the famous gasholders on the east side. The gasholders were erected around 1848.

Apart from cricket, the Oval has hosted other sports. It hosted the first international football match between England and Scotland. The first ever FA Cup final was hosted in 1872. Wanderers defeated Royal Engineers by a solitary goal. The finals were played her until 1892. It hosted rugby matches featuring England, Wales, and Scotland in 1876.

In addition to all these, it has hosted rock concerts in 1971 and Australian rules football in recent times.

The Oval will be hosting the men's and the women's semi-final matches of T20 World Cup on June 19, 2009.