Eden awaits with bated breath for Tendulkar magic
Kolkata: The whole nation have waited with bated breath for over eight months now and nothing could be termed more memorable than the historic 100th international ton by Sachin Tendulkar on the hallowed Eden Gardens turf.
For this cricket crazy city, it will be a thing to remember if the iconic batsman reaches the milestone at the Eden.
Ask a normal Kolkatan what he thinks about Sachin`s 100th hundred, he would tell you that its destined to happen in Kolkata as that is precisely the reason he failed to reach the landmark at the Lord`s considered Mecca of Cricket.
It`s been 15 Test and ODI innings in a span of eight months after Tendulkar got to his 99th international century, when he notched 111 against South Africa in the World Cup on March 12.
Since then the milestone man, who has almost all the records under his belt, got close to his 100th International century once in ODI when he missed the figure by 15 runs against Pakistan in Mohali.
In Tests, Tendulkar had come agonisingly close at the Oval in the fourth and last Test against England before being falling short by only nine runs.
More recently, Tendulkar seemed at his fluent best in the second innings against the West Indies in the opening Test in Delhi before 24 runs separated him from the landmark.
In his international career spanning 22 years, Tendulkar has achieved almost everything especially after India`s World Cup success earlier this year.
In the last lap of his highly successful career, the 100th international century is seen as one that is left to be achieved. Likewise for a stadium that hosted its first Test in the pre-independence era of 1934, the Eden has been witness to many dramatic cricket events in the past.
It`s been more than a decade but the match between India and Australia and the heroics of VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid are still discussed by the cricket afficiandos.
Laxman`s epic 281 and Dravid`s monumental 180 in their game changing 376-run stand helped India rise from the dead for a 171-run win after being followed on. A match that that changed the course of Indian cricket.
Two years prior to that Test match against Australia, Tendulkar was part of a Test match against Pakistan, when his run-out due Shoaib Akhtar`s obstruction saw all hell break lose with crowd starting to pelt stones.
Finally, it was Tendulkar who had to come out to pacify the crowd. If that wasn`t enough, the police had to evacuate the spectators as the match on the last day was completed in-front on an empty stand.
Back in 1993, Tendulkar bowled a memorable last over at the Eden Gardens in a Hero Cup semi-final against South Africa when Brian McMillan could score only three when six runs were required. That was incidentally the first match under lights at the Eden.
Kapil Dev and Harbhajan Singh too have fond memories at the venue with hattricks in ODI and Test cricket respectively.
Kapil took an ODI hat-trick against the Sri Lankans in 1991, while Harbhajan did it against Australia in 2000-01.
One of the bitter memories though would be of 1996 World Cup semi-final which was stopped due to crowd violence. The match was over as contest once Tendulkar was stumped off Sanath Jayasuriya`s bowling.