Eden Gardens, one of the most iconic cricket stadiums in the world was established in 1864. First international match in Eden Gardens was played in 1934. It is one of the oldest stadium of India. It is the largest stadium in India as far as seating capacity is concerned. It is a home of the Bengal cricket and Kolkata Knight Riders. On 13th november, 2014 it celebrated its 150th birthday. On that day it hosted India vs Sri Lanka match and it became another match to remember on this stadium. We will come back to it later. First let us put some glimpses on its history.
In these 150 years Eden Gardens has hosted lots of memorable matches. It also has given lots of memorable moments to Indian cricket. This stadium is a describes passion towards the game. This stadium has witnessed lot of passion over the period of 150 years. Rioting, stampede, protests, more aggression, agony everything has been faced by this stadium. The passion on its ground has given rise to some incredible records as well. From Kapil Dev’s hat-trick to Sachin Tendulkar’s 199th test match this ground has been part of some record breaking historic moments.
If I have to pick one match from all the matches played at Eden Gardens, I would pick that second test between India and Australia of Border-Gavaskar trophy, 2001. I was just 10 then and it was an era when Australia was unbeatable in any form of the game. Harbhajan Singh took a hat-trick on the first day of that test match. Apart from that a Very Very Special player was born in that match. Laxman was not out on 100 at the end of 3rd day and I was in school next morning and there was buzz about Laxman in school that day. My class was on first floor and I was watching Laxman bat from the window of the class in TV of the house parallel to that window. I saw Laxman raising his bat after making 150 from that window and started shouting and clapping in excitement in the class along with three friends. Next moment we were out of the class and the rest of the innings I saw at home. We didn’t loose even a single wicket that day. It was a great partnership with Dravid. This highly dramatic match ended on the last day with India winning by whooping 170 odd runs and breaking the Australia’s winning streak of 16 matches. That match on Eden Gardens was important for India in lot of aspects. The win in that match became more special because it was played on Eden Gardens. There are lots of such memories attached with Eden Gardens.
Now let’s come back to 13th November, 2014. Eden Gardens hosted India vs Sri Lanka ODI match on its 150th birthday. Cake was cut by two captains Virat Kohli and Angelo Mathews before the start of the game. Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to field first. India had already won the series 3-0 before this game. In this series lots of players were tried and tested to select the team for world cup next year. In this match Rohit Sharma was making a comeback after the hand injury. He had to prove a point as a opener in this match as Rahane has done really well in his absence.
Rohit Sharma came out to bat with Rahane as Dhawan was rested for the last two ODIs. Comebacks are always difficult. Rohit was very cautious at the start and when he tried to breakfree he gave a sitter to Perera and he dropped. It looked like as if Rohit Sharma was waiting for this chance. He grabbed this opportunity with both the hands and started hitting the ball all over the ground. There is one thing about Rohit Sharma that no one can take wicket of him with any delivery until he gives it. Slowly he completed his 100 then it was no stopping for him he completed his 150 and then reached to his second 200 in ODIs. He didn’t stopped there he went to make 250 for the first in the history of One Day cricket and got out on the personal score of 264 on the last ball of the innings.
It was the perfect gift for Eden Gardens on completion of its 150 years. Eden couldn’t have celebrated its 150th birthday in a better way than this. Eden Gardens will keep giving such memorable moments in many more years to come.