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Eden Rhapsody

Eden Rhapsody
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+0553
On the third day of the 1,724th Test match ever played, the crowds stream into Eden Gardens with hope in their hearts. Sehwag is on 82, Dravid on 33; Sachin, Saurav and Laxman are next in queue on what seems to be a good batting track. Surely there will be some fireworks?

Sadly, it is not to be. Sehwag hits a huge six and departs immediately after. But India has nearly 150 on the board with only two wickets gone; perfect situation for Sachin to let loose. Instead, he decides to put his nose to the grindstone. After his long lay-off, there is clearly tremendous pressure on him to perform and he has responded by batting in the dourest possible manner. But Sachin playing only with his head and no heart, only copybook cricket and no flamboyant passion is cricket's loss. And not even, perhaps, the right strategy for him. At Calcutta, he scores 20 off 54 balls, before being bowled. I am sure millions of cricket lovers across the world are hoping their hero will just be his natural self, the man born to rule over bowlers.

After having been bored silly for three days, not too many venture towards the ground the next morning. But that changes as soon as the first South African wicket falls. Word goes round the city that Harbhajan and Kumble are going to rip through the batting. By tea, about 60,000 people have gathered in the stands, and the roar is a thunderous echoing constant. The crowd has become a single gigantic—and very loud—mind willing the Indians forward, forcing the opposition to make mistakes. When the fifth wicket falls (Dippenar), a Mexican wave goes round and round and round, a mesmerising and never-ending circle of pure passion. There is no more electrifying place to be than Eden Gardens when India scents victory.

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