Only 33,000 people were present on Day 2 of the 1st Test at the Eden Gardens – a number, far away from the 66,000 full capacity of the stadium
achin Tendulkar’s swansong appearance at the hallowed Eden Gardens against the visiting West Indies failed to live up to its billing the second consecutive day Thursday when vast rows of empty seats belied the organisers’ tall claims of a full house.
If the presence of 33,000 spectators – half of the stadium’s capacity – on the first day can be excused on the fact that the visitors opted to bat first, the prospect of seeing the maestro create magic with his willow on the 22 yards, failed to attract the otherwise cricket mad Kolkata crowd.
The atmosphere turned sour further when Tendulkar’s stint at the wicket was cut short by a contentious umpiring decision.
The crowd which was lustily cheering every move of the maestro since he came out to bat at the fall of India’s second wicket, was stunned into silence when Llong raised the dreaded index finger after left-armer Shane Shillingford trapped the man in front. Incidentally, Tendulkar had taken the West Indian’s wicket Wednesday.
The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) which had promised a series of celebrations including the spectators greeting Tendulkar wearing his mask on the first two days of the match, yet again failed to deliver on its promise.
“Had Sachin batted for an hour more, the turnout would have been higher during the latter part of the day,” was what a CAB official could give as explanation about the missing crowd.
About the non-existent masks, he said they would be distributed on the third day as they were still under print.
However, much to the delight of the crowd present debutant Rohit Sharma hit a scintillating century to propel India towards a commanding position in the match. While Sharma sparkled with the bat, homeboy Mohammad Shami who too made his debut in the match, rocked the Windies batting line-up to return with figures of 4/71 on the first day.