Kolkata: For a stadium that had witnessed a crowd of 80,000-plus turnout during the epic India-Australia 2001 Test, the historical Eden Gardens on Monday wore a sorry figure with less than 10,000 filling in on the opening day of the India-West Indies second Test.
With Sachin Tendulkar's impending 100th international century, which he eventually missed in India's first innings, being the only attraction against the low-key West Indians, the Eden had a vacant look with less than 1,000 turning up at the start.
Such was the misery that former England Test cricketer turned commentator Tony Greig described the historical venue as a "morgue" in a tweet.
"Eden Gardens was one of my favourite grounds because of its wonderful atmosphere. Today it looks and sounds like a morgue," the former English allrounder wrote, blaming it on a Monday start.
According to figures available from the hosts Cricket Association of Bengal, about 10,000 people were in attendance when Tendulkar batted in the second session.
In fact, people had started pouring in the post-lunch session hearing Tendulkar was batting but once he got out for 38 there was little hope even as Eden's popular duo of VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid batted nicely.
Laxman's 281 and Dravid's 180 in an epic 376-run stand in the 2001 Test had helped India rise from the dead for a 171-run win after being asked to follow on against Australia.
Remembering the 2001 Test, Bijay Dubey, a BPO professional said, "what an atmosphere it was..."
"I remember the day when more than 80,000 were there rising on their feet and roaring. Everybody, including police officials were dancing. It feels sad to see Eden like this," said the 35-year-old.
Incidentally, the Eden Gardens that hosted its third international match in the last 20 days had witnessed something similar earlier.
In India's ODI against England on October 25, only 27,000 were in attendance, lowest for a match involving the home team.
The Twenty20 International though had a sizeable crowd of about 35,000.
The renovated Eden Gardens with all bucket seats now seats 67,000 from the earlier 1 lakh-plus.
Story first published on: Monday, 14 November 2011 17:33 IST