Along with the MCG, the Eden Gardens remains cricket's answer to the Coliseum.india Updated: Nov 24, 2005 18:27 IST
Along with the MCG, the Eden Gardens remains cricket's answer to the Coliseum. It first hosted a Test back in the days of India's cricketing infancy, with Douglas Jardine's team easing to victory inside four days in 1934. Since then, it has become something of a place of pilgrimage for most international cricketers, a chance to strut their stuff in front of the most passionate and vocal crowd in the game. At times though, the fervour has spilled into excess, with riots disrupting matches against the West Indies (1966-67) and Australia (1969-70), and a shameful exhibition of boorishness causing the World Cup semi-final against Sri Lanka (1996) to be called off with the visitors on the threshold of victory.
There have been other, better, times too when the verve and energy of the crowd has made it a twelfth man of sorts and stirred India's finest to great feats, none more so than that hallowed day in March 2001 when VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid set the stage for the greatest come-from-behind victory of modern times, against an Australian team poised for an unprecedented 17th straight Test win. Despite packing in 90,000 on red-letter days, it hasn't been a lucky charm for India until recently, when the spin wiles of Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble inspired famous victories against Australia and Pakistan.