Eden Gardens! It’s a special place for me. I will be missing a Test at the Eden after a long time, and all the memories I have of playing there are pleasant. What makes playing at the Eden special is not just the ground but also the spectators.
I have always enjoyed a lot of success at this ground. Kolkata has always produced beautiful pitches — good to bat to start with, and gradually assisting the spinners as the match enters the third, fourth and fifth days.Also, at this time of the year, there will be some assistance for the quicker bowlers too from the atmosphere. There is great value for shots because the outfield is quick and the game can change quickly, especially from the third evening. Therefore, it becomes imperative that whoever bats first puts up a big total and puts pressure on the opposition.
England won the second Test convincingly, but there is no reason why India should let their shoulders drop. If you are going straight into a game after a loss, it can sometimes be tough to regroup, while as a winning team, you want to play the next Test as quickly as possible. The last 10 days would have given India the opportunity to reflect on their game. And their bowlers sent down a lot of overs on the trot in Ahmedabad because India enforced the follow-on and ended up bowling a lot in Mumbai too. These last few days would have allowed them to recover and be ready for the all-important game.
India will approach the Test as the first of a two-match series. One of the positives they can take into the game is England's batting; only Cook, Pietersen and Prior have made runs thus far. The others have still not got used to the Indian pitches or spinners.
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The writer is former India player