India v West Indies, 2nd Test, Kolkata, 1st day November 14, 2011

Eden the empty theatre

ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the first day of the second Test between India and West Indies in Kolkata
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The shout
Sachin Tendulkar had eased to 25 in no time when he looked to sweep Devendra Bishoo. He missed and the bowler went up immediately, convinced that the delivery that hardly turned after pitching on middle and would have gone on to hit the stumps. But Rod Tucker, who gave Tendulkar out for 76 in Delhi, was unmoved. Replays suggested he was wrong.

The catch
Each of the first three wickets to fall could be put down to unforced errors. The one that silenced the sparse crowd most dramatically was the fall of Tendulkar, who managed to whack a short ball from Bishoo to the man at midwicket when pretty much the entire leg side was at his mercy.

The unkindest cut
Rahul Dravid has played some memorable innings at this venue and he looked set for a big one after batting with fluency through the day. But on came Kraigg Brathwaite with his part-time offspin and an attempted cut cannoned into the stumps off the bottom edge in the penultimate over of the day. The look of disgust on his face as he trudged off said it all.

The decision
Dravid departed with the close of play looming, and instead of Yuvraj Singh it was Ishant Sharma who strode out to face Kemar Roach and the second new ball. Steve Waugh, much-loved in these parts, was never a fan of the nightwatchman, and three balls later, you knew why, with Ishant edging one behind. Yuvraj walked out anyway, even if he hadn't reached the middle before the umpires decided that the light was too poor to continue.

The empty theatre
"It's sad, but that's the way it is," Dravid said when asked about the poor turnout. "It's tougher for people to come and watch Tests these days." When India won the Test that he and VVS Laxman will forever be remembered for, there were more than 80,000 in the stands. Today, there were just huge swathes of cream and light-green plastic seats. "There was a magic about this place when there were 80,000 or more in," Dravid said.

It's fading.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • BINU.J on November 15, 2011, 5:01 GMT

    Plz Check the Fixture.! Test Matches:- 1.SUN-WED, 2.MON-FRI, 3.TUE-SAT.. One dayers:- TUE,FRI,MON,THU,SUN. 20days of matches with only 3 holidays in between tells the full story.

  • Sautrik on November 15, 2011, 4:53 GMT

    how could you possibly schedule a test match where not one of the five days is a weekend... you cant expect people to skip work and come watch the match.. furthermore, one could see some of the people coming in after two, as schools end near that time...

  • chandau on November 15, 2011, 4:20 GMT

    isnt it funny that the world's richest cricket board still has to charge people to watch cricket . especially test cricket! seriously people, u earn millions of dollars in tv rights and sponsorships and what not - cant u just open the gates and let people walk in with the cursory security chks of course. at least it will make the players happy to have some cheer around :)

  • harshalb on November 15, 2011, 3:31 GMT

    People are not coming to watch the match because they are disappointed with how India played in England and were exposed on true wickets. NOT because it is a test match but such a convenient conclusion will be drawn by BCCI to push more ODIs and T20s. The fact is Test cricket is the ultimate form of cricket as it tests the skills of the players to the fullest and offers the best stage for various possibilities of skills and strategy, provided played on true wickets.

  • on November 15, 2011, 3:27 GMT

    indians dont watch... well itsj sut that theres been too much cricket i for one m only 18...i always watch every test watch india plays ya one days... thats diff story

  • gitapat on November 15, 2011, 2:15 GMT

    Let us be realistic.The poor spectator turnout for Test matches is the direct result of too much cricket particularly the number of 50- over ODIs and the Twenty 20 games played by India particularly the IPL.Spectators throng at cricket stadia only for the entertainment provided by these games.The poor turnout for Test cricket is no reflection on the interest in Test cricket as the true lover of Test Cricket id watching the game on TV from home or office.The Associations who own these stadia are making enough money on the shorter forms of the game and they have nothing to complain.

  • InnocentGuy on November 15, 2011, 1:49 GMT

    A, it's vs West Indies, B, it's day 1 of the test match, and C, it's a Monday for heaven's sake!

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on November 15, 2011, 0:33 GMT

    So, what was everybody expecting? That people stay away from their offices on Monday and come to watch cricket? Lol...

  • Stevo_ on November 15, 2011, 0:07 GMT

    Indians just don't like cricket, it's as simple as that. They just like cricket highlights and the majority of social Indian cricketers are "highlight" cricketers, trying to take a wicket with every ball or trying to hit every ball for six. They just don't get it

  • pk_brisbane on November 14, 2011, 23:11 GMT

    @Nampally - which game were you watching. they are 350/5 (one wicket being night watchman) at stumps on day 1 and you say 'hopefully others play responsibly'. it is part of the balance of the side that guys like dravid play anchor, and guys like sehwag etc attack the bowling. its because they attack that dravid is able to play anchor role. with very few people left watching test cricket, by taking the cavaliar away from the game, the format will completely die. bad enough we have character less pitches. yea they got out playing loose shots, but they tried to entertain, and laid the platform for guys like dravid to play steady.

  • BINU.J on November 15, 2011, 5:01 GMT

    Plz Check the Fixture.! Test Matches:- 1.SUN-WED, 2.MON-FRI, 3.TUE-SAT.. One dayers:- TUE,FRI,MON,THU,SUN. 20days of matches with only 3 holidays in between tells the full story.

  • Sautrik on November 15, 2011, 4:53 GMT

    how could you possibly schedule a test match where not one of the five days is a weekend... you cant expect people to skip work and come watch the match.. furthermore, one could see some of the people coming in after two, as schools end near that time...

  • chandau on November 15, 2011, 4:20 GMT

    isnt it funny that the world's richest cricket board still has to charge people to watch cricket . especially test cricket! seriously people, u earn millions of dollars in tv rights and sponsorships and what not - cant u just open the gates and let people walk in with the cursory security chks of course. at least it will make the players happy to have some cheer around :)

  • harshalb on November 15, 2011, 3:31 GMT

    People are not coming to watch the match because they are disappointed with how India played in England and were exposed on true wickets. NOT because it is a test match but such a convenient conclusion will be drawn by BCCI to push more ODIs and T20s. The fact is Test cricket is the ultimate form of cricket as it tests the skills of the players to the fullest and offers the best stage for various possibilities of skills and strategy, provided played on true wickets.

  • on November 15, 2011, 3:27 GMT

    indians dont watch... well itsj sut that theres been too much cricket i for one m only 18...i always watch every test watch india plays ya one days... thats diff story

  • gitapat on November 15, 2011, 2:15 GMT

    Let us be realistic.The poor spectator turnout for Test matches is the direct result of too much cricket particularly the number of 50- over ODIs and the Twenty 20 games played by India particularly the IPL.Spectators throng at cricket stadia only for the entertainment provided by these games.The poor turnout for Test cricket is no reflection on the interest in Test cricket as the true lover of Test Cricket id watching the game on TV from home or office.The Associations who own these stadia are making enough money on the shorter forms of the game and they have nothing to complain.

  • InnocentGuy on November 15, 2011, 1:49 GMT

    A, it's vs West Indies, B, it's day 1 of the test match, and C, it's a Monday for heaven's sake!

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on November 15, 2011, 0:33 GMT

    So, what was everybody expecting? That people stay away from their offices on Monday and come to watch cricket? Lol...

  • Stevo_ on November 15, 2011, 0:07 GMT

    Indians just don't like cricket, it's as simple as that. They just like cricket highlights and the majority of social Indian cricketers are "highlight" cricketers, trying to take a wicket with every ball or trying to hit every ball for six. They just don't get it

  • pk_brisbane on November 14, 2011, 23:11 GMT

    @Nampally - which game were you watching. they are 350/5 (one wicket being night watchman) at stumps on day 1 and you say 'hopefully others play responsibly'. it is part of the balance of the side that guys like dravid play anchor, and guys like sehwag etc attack the bowling. its because they attack that dravid is able to play anchor role. with very few people left watching test cricket, by taking the cavaliar away from the game, the format will completely die. bad enough we have character less pitches. yea they got out playing loose shots, but they tried to entertain, and laid the platform for guys like dravid to play steady.

  • D.Sharma on November 14, 2011, 21:58 GMT

    Why on earth did Ishant come out? Yuvraj Singh should have been the nightwatchman to protect the lower order.

  • inswing on November 14, 2011, 21:54 GMT

    Test cricket should be made virtually free in India. No more than Rs 10 to 20 per day. You are relying on the retired, the unemployed, and students. They must be able to afford this. And of course, a weekend must be part of every test.

  • serious-am-i on November 14, 2011, 21:44 GMT

    I don't think u might have a big crowd even if it was a holiday. There's too much cricket and the regular commodities prices are sky rocketing. I will not be surprised when a day comes when there would be no stands at all for spectators. What ever to watch should be watched via tv and pc's only.

  • on November 14, 2011, 21:15 GMT

    The Small crowds who now go to watch Test Cricket in India only do so because Sachin Tendulkar is playing. Once he retires, only a handful of people will go to watch test cricket in India.

  • Nampally on November 14, 2011, 20:49 GMT

    Sehwag & Sachin got out trying to force the pace unnecessarily,while Dravid played on.These 3 were gift wickets, as Dravid expressed his disgust quite rightly.India should have been aiming at 600 total if only these 3 wickets not thrown playing rash strokes. There was nothing in the WI bowling for powerful Indian batting to lose 5 wickets. Hopefully Dhoni, Yuvraj & VVS play more responsibly to carry the team to at least 450. India should be consistently hitting 500 mark before heading for their Australian tour. This will provide the players much needed confidence. The top 6 batsmen must not throw away their wickets so that 5 specialist bowlers can play to back up the specialist batsmen.This is the only way India can counter Australia and be successful. There was no reason for Dhoni not to try that concept in this match by including Rahul Sharma instead of benching him again!.Rahul can bat as well. Also it would have been nice to try out Aaron in place of Ishant to see how good he is.

  • on November 14, 2011, 20:38 GMT

    Only BCCI can be blamed for poor turnouts.. Where else in the world does a test match start on a monday and runs through the week? Schedule the same test starting Thursday (like australians do) and see how many people show up on friday/sat/sun.. Seriously, BCCI.. if greed is the driving factor for you guys, there is at least some money to be made here, even though it's not comparable with IPL..

  • on November 14, 2011, 19:52 GMT

    It's amazing how a little bit of flexibility would change things. Having the match scheduled around weekends/ holidays would allow more people. Also, is it such a blasphemy if players and spectators are allowed to avoid the oppressive heat of Calcutta by hosting a day-night test match? Eden Gardens is equipped with a pretty good floodlight system, besides the dew and the heaviness in the air during the evening could allow pacemen some more leeway ..

  • Rahulbose on November 14, 2011, 19:50 GMT

    Saddest part of the match was even with Sachin batting and the chance of an once in a lifetime sporting moment. Hardly anyone turned up to watch the game. Test cricket is dead in India.

  • moonuranus on November 14, 2011, 19:13 GMT

    The excuse given by the commentators here for the sparsely attended ODI series was "Sachin was not playing", "It was Diwali" etc. Now the excuse is it is a monday. As terrible as the schedule is, it is time to face the facts. Even Sachin's hundred hype didn't bring fans. I am sure the TRPs would be down too.Indian cricket board has been taking the fans for granted for a while now. Now the fan is turning his back on the game. If it makes the board honest, it is good for the game.

  • on November 14, 2011, 18:51 GMT

    @PradeepR U missed my pt completely,I never blamed Sachin, I have the greatest respect for the guy, as an individual. U can read my comment again & maybe this time you'll get the pt. End of debate.

  • PradeepR on November 14, 2011, 17:32 GMT

    @Godfrey - It might be the case, you should ask the umpire if it is, but Sachin at least is not influencing the umpire directly. It is not his fault if his reputation affects others. Umpires in the past have said players like Ricky Ponting, Shane Warne and Imran Khan to name a few players tried to influence the umpires directly and put enormous pressure on them. So, please stop blaming Sachin for everything including other peoples' faults. He didn't look at or talk to the umpire to give him not out. Please be sensible in your criticism.

  • on November 14, 2011, 17:25 GMT

    BCCI starts a test match on Monday 9am? Who is the target audience? College students, jobless youth & retired generation? If yes then please ensure ticket prices are close to zero .....

  • Amar_bw on November 14, 2011, 17:11 GMT

    Why not play matches in other cities like Pune where there are hardly any matches? I am sure the stands will be full from the first day of the Test match.

  • on November 14, 2011, 16:59 GMT

    BCCI has consistently worked and has largely succeeded in destroying test matches and ODIs for the past five years.They dont want any competition for IPL. It doesnt make any sense to play a test match from Monday to Friday. test matches should ideally start on thursday/friday and should pass through the weekend.

  • on November 14, 2011, 16:46 GMT

    What is BCCI doing here. Match starting on Monday?

  • m_ilind on November 14, 2011, 16:32 GMT

    Does BCCI care about empty stands anymore? It's coffers are overflowing!

  • Nampally on November 14, 2011, 16:21 GMT

    Indeed there will be magic in the stadium with a crowd of over 80,000. But honestly, do the BCCI & the local cricket Board believe the peopla to turn on on the first day of the working week? How can they be so dumb & lacking in business sense when they have a test on all 5 working days? Fans are not getting paid for watching the game. They come out of loyalty & love for the game. If you expect them to lose thieir wages + possible loss of job due to absentism in this economic times, you are kidding yourselves.Wake up Cricket Boards!.You have to sell your services just like in any other business.Start the Test match on a Friday, if you want any spectators at all. Price the Tickets reasonably.Provide half rate for students & Seniors. Provide frequent shuttle bus service from centre to the stadium @ subsidized rate an hour before and 2 hours after the game.Strong publicity weeks before each test & go to businesses to sell tickets.If not expect EDEN unattractive to ADAMS or EVES!.

  • on November 14, 2011, 16:09 GMT

    world cup in march/april...the ipl followed..that was like what for 45 days? then the champions league..then 5 odis and a t20 against england..and nw the test series with nthr 5 odis to follow...ok..the last time i checked we r still a developing country...hw does the bcci expect the common to buy tickets and watch each and every game? to be honest i dnt understand the importance of this series...the bcci should have asked the test team to depart early to australia and get used to the conditions there...

  • on November 14, 2011, 16:09 GMT

    @Godfrey Pieters Why else would the BCCI be so opposed to using slow motion replays in assisting umpires?

  • ToTellUTheTruth on November 14, 2011, 15:57 GMT

    Sure. Start the test on a monday and expect the crowds to flock in. This whole test match will be over before the week-end. ICC's scheduling needs a lot of overhauling. If they schedule the games for an odd man and his dog, then that is what they get.

  • on November 14, 2011, 15:43 GMT

    Could not agree more with Wacco. Its sad to see all 5 days scheduled on weekdays!!

  • on November 14, 2011, 15:43 GMT

    Well I see the empty stands as a good sign for future. Hopefully Indian public would start moving to watching other sport. There is no fun in being a one game nation

  • PMadhavarao on November 14, 2011, 14:43 GMT

    agree with @Wacco. someone should explain the reason to start test match on a Monday????????????

  • on November 14, 2011, 14:43 GMT

    This is because Kolkata has already got too many games- in IPL and 3 international games in less than 1 month. 1 One dayer 1 20-20 and 1 Test. Kolkata people will be tired of having seen enough. As I say repeatedly, give Tests to cricket-starved areas. Make sure that cities which host games get the games only once in a while so that people have enthusiasm and money as well. In Nagpur people were dying to see Ganguly's last Test in Nov 2008 but the stadium was 16 km away with no transport facilities and no DAILY TICKETS and SEASON TICKETS as high as a month's salary. This drove people out who flocked to see Teams practice at the old stadium in Civil Lines. Then in Feb 2010 they gave India- SA Test in Nagpur again no daily tickets though season tickets were cheaper, and Nagpur had already had 7 games since October including 4 internationals- enough to last a lifetime. It is time to play tests on cricket starved centres like Pune, Jamshedpur, Guwahati, Gwalior, Indore, Vijaywada, etc.

  • Rugsy on November 14, 2011, 14:42 GMT

    Its indeed very sad to see such an empty Eden. The match starting on a Monday is just one reason. The primary cause of flagging spectator interest is the surfeit of cricket with a greedy and insensitive BCCI trying to milk the game shamelessly to fill thier coffers. Even television viewing has gone down dramatically, as the poor TRP's reveal. What was the need for the meaningless ODI series against England and now this equally ridiculous series against a second rate side just before the important tour to Australia? BCCI just never learns

  • on November 14, 2011, 14:37 GMT

    reduce the cricket and schedule on weekends if you want crowds in stands!

  • ElPhenomeno on November 14, 2011, 14:32 GMT

    Its sad but not unexpected. A test starting on monday should be deemed criminal thesedays. In my opinion, all test matches should probably start on thursdays in an ideal world. That way the game builds up going into the weekend and if there is excitement and the test is not settled by sunday there is some incentive for the crowd to come in on monday. Personally, I think people want to follow tests, but the length of the game, lack of of a good contest due to poor teams like WI and the scheduling doesn't help. Not to mention the poor facilities you typically find in the asian bloc. There is practically no incentive for anyone to bother leaving their work/home and take the trouble to go to the stadium anymore.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on November 14, 2011, 14:10 GMT

    As usual, Dravid puts India in the driver's seat when the media is going ridiculously crazy about Sachin's 100th century. I'm really perplexed and sad at this obsession with a personal milestone, however unique that may be. That man Sachin is failing repeatedly and instead of questioning his place in the team, people are talking about 100th century and all. Wow, beggars belief! Remember, it was Sachin's and VVS' failure in the middle-order in England that cost us the series dearly, Dravid's personal milestones/heroics didn't make any difference to the outcome of that series. When will we Indians realise that team and country are above any and everything?

  • on November 14, 2011, 14:06 GMT

    Quite a few folks I know have stopped following cricket for the simple reason, the amount of bad decisions. They say with so many bad decisions the true result, is never reflected. Debatable I may say. But does the status of players sometimes have some influence on umpires' decisions? Ought not to be. When an umpire can blunder a st/forward LBW decision u wonder. In this case it wasn't costly justice was quickly served,but what in some other cases? Test cricket is at its lowest & Sachin is a high profile player, was it a ' Gate' decision? U tell me!

  • on November 14, 2011, 13:04 GMT

    There are two things we must think about:1)sorry state of cricket in India too 2)We Indians are commited to our jobs than before wasting time in the ground.

  • jackiethepen on November 14, 2011, 12:58 GMT

    Absolutely agree with Wacco. It's a Monday morning! Strange day to start a Test isn't it, the first day of the working week after a weekend of stuff piling up to be dealt with? And even stranger to have the Test on all five working days! Someone isn't that keen on bothering about Test cricket in the Indian set up. If anything is going to bring about the demise of Indian cricket once the greats have departed it is this casual thoughtless attitude. Overkill about Twenty20 and downright neglect about Test cricket. India might lose its empire if it cares so little about the actual game.

  • ssridhar on November 14, 2011, 12:51 GMT

    The empty theatre is due to the lack of competition. Had it been england, australia or south africa there would have been good crowd. This WI team without bowling without direction and purpose cannot pull crowds. India should have scored near 400 out of this bowling. As an ardent follower of WI cricket I had to watch over TV !!

  • Wacco on November 14, 2011, 12:44 GMT

    Why on earth empty Eden Gardens is sad?? If a test match starts on Monday, do you expect people to bunk office or college and come and spend the whole first day of the week watching cricket in this 21st century? Why cant the admins use the weekends? Cricket will die only because of the inept administrators in India. Cricket needs to accommodate the demands of the 21st century.

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  • Wacco on November 14, 2011, 12:44 GMT

    Why on earth empty Eden Gardens is sad?? If a test match starts on Monday, do you expect people to bunk office or college and come and spend the whole first day of the week watching cricket in this 21st century? Why cant the admins use the weekends? Cricket will die only because of the inept administrators in India. Cricket needs to accommodate the demands of the 21st century.

  • ssridhar on November 14, 2011, 12:51 GMT

    The empty theatre is due to the lack of competition. Had it been england, australia or south africa there would have been good crowd. This WI team without bowling without direction and purpose cannot pull crowds. India should have scored near 400 out of this bowling. As an ardent follower of WI cricket I had to watch over TV !!

  • jackiethepen on November 14, 2011, 12:58 GMT

    Absolutely agree with Wacco. It's a Monday morning! Strange day to start a Test isn't it, the first day of the working week after a weekend of stuff piling up to be dealt with? And even stranger to have the Test on all five working days! Someone isn't that keen on bothering about Test cricket in the Indian set up. If anything is going to bring about the demise of Indian cricket once the greats have departed it is this casual thoughtless attitude. Overkill about Twenty20 and downright neglect about Test cricket. India might lose its empire if it cares so little about the actual game.

  • on November 14, 2011, 13:04 GMT

    There are two things we must think about:1)sorry state of cricket in India too 2)We Indians are commited to our jobs than before wasting time in the ground.

  • on November 14, 2011, 14:06 GMT

    Quite a few folks I know have stopped following cricket for the simple reason, the amount of bad decisions. They say with so many bad decisions the true result, is never reflected. Debatable I may say. But does the status of players sometimes have some influence on umpires' decisions? Ought not to be. When an umpire can blunder a st/forward LBW decision u wonder. In this case it wasn't costly justice was quickly served,but what in some other cases? Test cricket is at its lowest & Sachin is a high profile player, was it a ' Gate' decision? U tell me!

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on November 14, 2011, 14:10 GMT

    As usual, Dravid puts India in the driver's seat when the media is going ridiculously crazy about Sachin's 100th century. I'm really perplexed and sad at this obsession with a personal milestone, however unique that may be. That man Sachin is failing repeatedly and instead of questioning his place in the team, people are talking about 100th century and all. Wow, beggars belief! Remember, it was Sachin's and VVS' failure in the middle-order in England that cost us the series dearly, Dravid's personal milestones/heroics didn't make any difference to the outcome of that series. When will we Indians realise that team and country are above any and everything?

  • ElPhenomeno on November 14, 2011, 14:32 GMT

    Its sad but not unexpected. A test starting on monday should be deemed criminal thesedays. In my opinion, all test matches should probably start on thursdays in an ideal world. That way the game builds up going into the weekend and if there is excitement and the test is not settled by sunday there is some incentive for the crowd to come in on monday. Personally, I think people want to follow tests, but the length of the game, lack of of a good contest due to poor teams like WI and the scheduling doesn't help. Not to mention the poor facilities you typically find in the asian bloc. There is practically no incentive for anyone to bother leaving their work/home and take the trouble to go to the stadium anymore.

  • on November 14, 2011, 14:37 GMT

    reduce the cricket and schedule on weekends if you want crowds in stands!

  • Rugsy on November 14, 2011, 14:42 GMT

    Its indeed very sad to see such an empty Eden. The match starting on a Monday is just one reason. The primary cause of flagging spectator interest is the surfeit of cricket with a greedy and insensitive BCCI trying to milk the game shamelessly to fill thier coffers. Even television viewing has gone down dramatically, as the poor TRP's reveal. What was the need for the meaningless ODI series against England and now this equally ridiculous series against a second rate side just before the important tour to Australia? BCCI just never learns

  • on November 14, 2011, 14:43 GMT

    This is because Kolkata has already got too many games- in IPL and 3 international games in less than 1 month. 1 One dayer 1 20-20 and 1 Test. Kolkata people will be tired of having seen enough. As I say repeatedly, give Tests to cricket-starved areas. Make sure that cities which host games get the games only once in a while so that people have enthusiasm and money as well. In Nagpur people were dying to see Ganguly's last Test in Nov 2008 but the stadium was 16 km away with no transport facilities and no DAILY TICKETS and SEASON TICKETS as high as a month's salary. This drove people out who flocked to see Teams practice at the old stadium in Civil Lines. Then in Feb 2010 they gave India- SA Test in Nagpur again no daily tickets though season tickets were cheaper, and Nagpur had already had 7 games since October including 4 internationals- enough to last a lifetime. It is time to play tests on cricket starved centres like Pune, Jamshedpur, Guwahati, Gwalior, Indore, Vijaywada, etc.