Durga Puja celebrations the reason for the nature of Eden Gardens pitch for second Test
The venue has never played host to a Test in September in its 83-year long history.
The second India-New Zealand Test concluded in four days with the hosts emerging triumphant by 178 runs and thereby taking an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series and also climbing back to the top of the world rankings.
The pitch, on which the game was played on, found praise coming from both the captain’s corners so to speak, as both Virat Kohli and Ross Taylor, who stood in place of an ill Kane Williamson for this game, felt that the deck in Kolkata was a good one although the latter didn’t expect one of this nature to be dished out for the game.
"Lovely Test match, a brilliant Test wicket, apart from the variable bounce here and there, it will get better and better,” Kohli said.
“Very impressive, the way the bowlers got stuck in hot, humid conditions, we put India under pressure, but credit to them for withstanding it with Saha contributing in both innings. To be honest, we thought the pitch would be different. A good cricket wicket, it's just been relaid, and is going to get better and better,” Taylor said.
There is a further underlying reason as to why the pitch behaved the way it did, particularly on Day 3, when uneven bounce was an evident feature seen almost all throughout the day.
The schedule for New Zealand’s tour to India was announced on the 28th of June and initially, the Eden Gardens was set to host the third match, scheduled to start on the 8th of October.
But it only came to realisation later for the Cricket Association of Bengal(CAB) that the game coincided with the Durga Puja, which is celebrated with much flair in the West Bengal capital and it would be tough to fully assure police security for the players, during the festival.
Hence, in order to ensure that it doesn’t lose the opportunity to play host to an international game, the venues were inter-changed and Indore was given the third Test while the Eden Gardens got the second.
However, pitch preparation at the venue begins only in the month of October and the ground has not hosted a Test match until this one came along , for 83 years, in the month of September because of the monsoon season that prevails in the state.
If one ardently followed the now-scrapped Champions League T20, which saw the best T20 teams from around the world participate, then you will remember that the tournament was held around this time of the year and the Kolkata Knight Riders never played at their home venue for this very reason.
The ability of the Sourav Ganguly-led administration to successfully host a game despite all the troubles is once again praiseworthy and let’s hope that next time when such a situation does arise, the scheduling is handled in a much better manner.