The most scenic of all the country's stadiums, with tea gardens and hillocks surrounding it, the Sylhet International Stadium (SIS) is set to host its inaugural Test match on November 3 when Bangladesh will take on Zimbabwe in the first match of a two-Test series.
After its construction in 2007, Sylhet will become Bangladesh's eighth Test venue. The picturesque stadium hosted its first international game in 2014 -- the ICC World Twenty20 qualifying match between Ireland and Zimbabwe -- before hosting six more T20Is, including the one in February this year between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
The stadium currently has a capacity of 18,000. New floodlights have been installed to go with state-of-the-art facilities, with the players' dressing room now situated on the second floor of the grand stand in the northern part of the stadium.
The outfield is equipped with a modern drainage system that is capable of preparing the ground for play within thirty minutes of cessation of rainfall. A total of seven pitches, all maintained throughout the year, have proved fruitful for batsmen during the National Cricket League first-class competition.
The most eye-catching part of the stadium is the 'Green Gallery' -- which has however turned brownish in the approaching winter -- situated in the western part of the ground.
The organisers are willing to make the inaugural Test match a memorable one as there are quite a few initiatives taken. One highlight promises to be the traditional way to start a Test match by ringing a bell much like at England's historic Lord's Cricket Ground, which started the tradition back in 2007.
“We want to return to the historic tradition of Test match and for that reason we are going to place a bell where the match referee will ring the bell to announce the start of the inaugural Test in Sylhet. We already brought the bell from Dhaka.
“There was a question about the clock, which has also traditionally been placed in the past, but due to some technical errors we may not be able to fix that but we will try to bring another clock as replacement,” said Shafiul Alam Chowdhury Nadel, Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) director and the general secretary of Sylhet Divisional Sports Association, during a press conference yesterday.
He also informed that there will be a special coin as a souvenir for the toss and that they have also invited former national players from Sylhet for the inaugural Test match.
Despite all the positives, there were still some concerns about whether the authorities will be able to maintain all aspects of the stadium or if it will lose its charm due to a lack of maintenance, which has been the case for the Shaheed Chandu Stadium in Bogura and Khulna's Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium.