Cricket venues across the globe have their unique features.
The Home of Cricket, Lord’s, has a pronounced slope. The Queenstown ground in New Zealand is right next to an airport, which provides a great backdrop of planes taking off and landing during play.
Some have a tree inside the playing area. That’s right, not in the venue but in the outfield. Here we take a look at these remarkable cricketing venues.
Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
The South African city is famous for being the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi’s freedom struggle and, to a lesser extent, having a cricket ground with a tree at its boundary.
So what happens if the ball hits the tree? According to the venue rules, it’s a four regardless of where ball hits the tree.
The venue has hosted two international matches in its lifetime, both at the 2003 World Cup. One of the unique features about the venue is that any player who scores a century or takes a five-wicket haul gets to plant a tree at the ground.
St Lawrence Ground, Kent
St Lawrence Ground is the home ground of Kent Cricket Club. The ground had a 27m-high lime tree within the boundary ropes. However, in 2005 it fell during high winds after being weakened by fungus.
A new lime tree was planted as a replacement for the 200-year old fallen tree. It was placed inside the playing area but outside the boundary ropes.
The VRA Cricket Ground in Amstelveen has hosted some high-profile ODI matches, including one match of the 1999 World Cup and the Videocon Cup in 2004 between India, Pakistan and Australia.
The ground has a massive tree right inside the playing arena. However, the Netherlands has not hosted many high-profile international matches over the last decade.
They are old rivals in general sporting terms but Scotland v England bragging results doesn’t typically extend to cricket.
Even so, on Sunday in Edinburgh, the Scots are targeting a first-ever victory over the Three Lions having lost three out of their four other one-day international meetings, with the other contest being drowned out to weather.
For England, this one-off ODI clash is their first 50-over assignment on home soil this UK summer.
The two teams last faced-off at the 2015 ICC World Cup in Christchurch, where Moeen Ali thumped 128 in a 119-run victory for Eoin Morgan’s side.
Unfortunately, Scotland will not be part of next year’s showpiece in England and Wales having finished outside the top two qualifying spots.
Here, we look at three key talking points ahead of the clash in the Scottish capital.
Fresh faces for England
England will be without Jos Buttler for the trip north, with the ECB giving the star batsman a rest following his hectic Indian Premier League schedule which was quickly followed by the two-match Test series against Pakistan.
It is a chance for Sam Billings to come in and deputise behind the stumps for Buttler in his first ODI outing since September 2017. He didn’t set the world alight in the IPL with Chennai Super Kings but can stake a claim going forward with a good showing here.
With the injured duo Ben Stokes (hamstring) and Chris Woakes (quad) missing for the match at The Grange, Moeen Ali – who has been in fine form domestically and performed well in the IPL – should relish the chance to show once again why he is a stalwart in this form of the game.
England have options, which is healthy, and will definitely be a fillet for skipper Eoin Morgan – who himself smashed a 69-ball hundred for Middlesex against Gloucestershire last week.
Alex Hales will bat at No.3 but has had a rotten 2018 with Notts so far off the bank of a disappointing stint with Sunrisers Hyderabad. He, perhaps, needs to find the middle of the bat more than anyone.
Half-century for Coetzer
Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer will make his 50th ODI outing for his country on Sunday – a fine achievement for the cricketing minnows.
The 34-year-old veteran has been a stalwart in the side for the best part of a decade and needs to score 89 or more against England to become the first Scotsman to hit 2,000 runs in ODI cricket.
He has certainly been a symbol of Scotland’s growth as a nation in recent years, but nevertheless, it is still challenging times for Cricket Scotland.
Cricket Ireland’s growth to Test status is a benchmark and goal in which they should look to follow suit.
Warm-up for biggest Tests to come
No English international summer is quiet, quite the opposite. Yet again, the fixture list is packed from May until mid-September.
This match is one that has been crammed in but does give Morgan’s No.1 ranked side the opportunity to get together as a group before five quick-fire ODIs (June 13-24) coming up against Australia and then a solitary T20 contest with the Baggy Green.
After that, the might of India arrive for three T20s, three ODIS and five Tests.
It’s too early to say that this match against Scotland alone is a momentum builder but England want to stay on an upward curve in this format after a decent one-day winter and the pressure of chasing the gun prize of a World Cup on home soil in 12 months or so time.
Match Details: Scotland v England (14:00)
Scotland: Kyle Coetzer (captain), Richie Berrington, Dylan Budge, Matthew Cross, Alasdair Evans, Michael Jones, Michael Leask, Calum MacLeod, Preston Mommsen, George Munsey, Safyaan Sharif, Chris Sole, Mark Watt, Brad Wheal, Stuart Whittingham.
England: Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Billings, Tom Curran, Alex Hales, Dawid Malan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, David Willey, Mark Wood.
Former batsman Kevin Pietersen has accused England of not knowing which direction they want to go in.
England have thrived in white-ball cricket over the last two years, rising to the top of the one-day rankings while also being a force in the Twenty20 format.
But their Test form has slumped, losing the winter’s Ashes 4-0 and suffering a 1-0 defeat in New Zealand before being held to a draw against Pakistan in home conditions.
Pietersen said: “I don’t know which direction they want to go in. We won a T20 World Cup, we won the Ashes home and away, we beat India in India a few years ago.
“England haven’t won a 50-over World Cup, I know that was the message a few years ago to do that and you can see they are driving towards that World Cup in England next summer, at the detriment of Test cricket. I think it’s sad and frustrating for us as players who have played over 100 Test matches.
“The public care a lot more about Test match cricket than they do about the shorter form of the game.”