In-focus: The Rose Bowl Stadium, Southampton

Having a cricket stadium is one thing. Providing the utmost atmosphere to make it more than just a cricket is another. The Rose Bowl, also called as Ageas bowl, does the latter for a long time now.

Ageas bowl, the cricket ground in Southampton, England, is owned by RB Sport & Leisure Holdings plc, has been in business since 2001.

A 20 min drive from Southampton city centre would take you to this eye-catching cricketing venue at the West End.

Unlike other cricket grounds globally, this one has so many key attributes that make it one of the bests. So let’s delve into it without making much build-up.

Why is it called the Ageas Bowl?

The bowl shape of the stadium and the logo of Hampshire CCC( Rose and Crown) brought in the name ‘Rose bowl’ for this stadium, which in 2012 changed to ‘Ageas bowl’ due to the tie-up with Ageas group as sponsors. 


The Ageas Bowl is among the very few international cricket stadiums to possess a five-star hotel next door. The Hilton Hotel, along with the greenish mountain view on one side and a golf court by the other side, gives the stadium a divine touch. 

Most importantly, an on-site hotel adjacent to the ground benefits the players in avoiding the long travel to get into the ground.

What is the capacity of the Ageas Bowl?

The ever-so-charming English ground can accommodate 15000 spectators normally, and it can be extended to 25000 when required.

Considering the rain factor, which has been the wrecker-in-chief of cricket in this geography, the ground is facilitated with a terrific drainage system. 

The perfectly moulded Rose bowl is one of the biggest in size of the outfields (155m in diameter) in Britain.

Ageas Bowl – Aerial View

Two scoreboards- one in the north end possess an LED video display while the other in the southern part is a vintage scoreboard with an LED display.

Here, the Press Box and commentary box are located on the third floor of the Hilton Hotel, whilst in other stadiums, those are placed on their top tier. 


Ageas bowl wickets – Typical English types

In Tests, the Ageas bowl wickets assist the seamers with grass over it often. Since the ground is placed in the foothill, the excess of humid air around gives a generous swing for the ball. 

But on the other hand, it also provides turn and bounce for the spinners, which automatically brings more streamlined competition.

Usually, here, the top order batters suffer the new ball swing, which makes the ball beat the bat umpteen times. But once they take time to set their eyes in, it will be a paradise to bat on. 

The century of Kumar Sangakkara in 2011 against England would show you how good it was to bat once one gets settled in that wicket.

Speaking of white-ball cricket, the Kookaburra hasn’t been a trouble-shooter in these conditions for batters. Adding to that, the dew factor makes it a nightmare for the bowlers who happen to bowl under the lights.

Read here: Dukes vs Kookaburra vs SG Cricket Balls Comparison

Thanks to those factors, which has led us to witness extraordinary innings of Aaron Finch (156) in T20s and Martin Guptill (189) in ODIs at this venue. 

County cricket

Ageas bowl has been the home ground for the Hampshire County Cricket Club since 2001. The historical club has won two ‘Division one county championships (1961 and 1973)’ and a decent number of white ball titles.  

Legends like Shane Warne, Malcolm Marshall and Wasim Akram have played for this South Coast side. 

Shane Warne went a step ahead by captaining the side during (2004-06) and guided them to grab England’s one-day trophy in 2005.

Two stands in Ageas bowl were named after their former captains -Shane Warne and Colin Ingleby Mackenzie- to acknowledge their Hampshire heroes. In honour of the side’s legendary Windies players, Roy Marshall Malcolm Marshall, the road that leads to the stadium was named ‘Marshall drive’. 

Ajinkya Rahane is the first and only Indian player to have played for this team at the Ageas bowl.

Ground Stats – All three formats

The Rose Bowl hosted its first ODI between South Africa and Zimbabwe on July 10, 2003. And the first T20 on July 13, 2005, between England and Australia. The south coast stadium waited almost ten years after its inauguration to conduct its first Test match on June 16, 2011, played by England and Sri Lanka.  

With only six International Tests played in this southern coast ground, Zak Crawley- the current sensation stands on top with the bat scoring 406 runs in just three matches, including the magical 267 against the fiery Pakistan bowling. With the ball, it has always been James Anderson anywhere on English soil; here is also the same. Jimmy has picked up 26 wickets in just six matches he played. 

In 50 over games, the England skipper had a great experience at this venue, accumulating 752 runs in 17 matches averaging 75.20. The Ageas bowl shares equal love to seam and spin. As proof, we have Adil Rashid as the top wicket-taker in ODIs- 14 wickets in 10 matches. 

TEST583/8 Dec. – ENG
(VS PAK – 2020)
178/10 – IND
(VS ENG – 2014)
Zak Crawley
Jason Holder
ODI373/3 – ENG
(VS PAK – 2019)
65/10 – USA
(VS AUS – 2004)
Martin Guptill
Merwyn Dillon
Shakib Al Hasan
T20I248/6 – AUS
(VS ENG – 2013)
79 – AUS
(VS ENG – 2005)
Aaron Finch
Paul Collingwood
Team & Individual Stats – The Rose Bowl

To wrap up

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It’s a big deal! 

With being just two decades old, the South coast stadium has earned its name among the greats like the Lords, Edgbaston, Headingley, The Oval and Trent bridge.

The Rose Bowl stadium will remain in the history as the host of the first-ever World Test Championship final match.

The initiative of the management in the upbringing of the stadium is astonishing. Especially Rod Bansgrove – invested huge sums of money into it whenever the club and stadium were in the urge. 

Being a regular host of white-ball international games, the Hampshire stadium is lined with more games. But on the other hand, as per the ECB’s major venues announcement, Ageas Bowl misses from the list of England grounds that will host Test matches till 2024.

Worryingly Ageas bowl hasn’t hosted an Ashes game yet. Let’s hope it happens after 2024.

Ageas bowl has always nodded to the evolution of cricket. The management was a great supporter of T20s in its initial stage, and it remains the same now by hosting ‘The Hundreds’ with Southern Brave as their home team.

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