The sprawling arena, with its excellent wicket, lush green outfield and enthusiastic spectators provided the perfect setting for arguably the greatest Test of all time. On 15 February 2001, Team India ended Australia’s sixteen-Test record-winning streak with a famous victory. Asked to follow on, 272 runs in arrears, VVS Laxman (281) and Rahul Dravid (180) added 376 for the fifth wicket, batting through the fourth day. Australia, needing 352 to win, lost by 171 runs.
The venue became the first after Lord’s to stage a World Cup final when Australia took on England on 8 November 1987. A half-century by David Boon, and steady bowling by his teammates, ensured a seven-run win for the team from Down Under. But Australia very nearly didn’t make it, but for a faux pas from the England captain Mike Gatting. Attempting a reverse-sweep when his team seemed in control, Gatting only succeeded in hitting his own shoulder, from where the ball ballooned into the air for the Australian wicketkeeper to take an easy catch.
The venue made its World Cup debut with a league game between New Zealand and Zimbabwe earlier in the tournament. The Kiwis won that game by four wickets. It made its day-night debut in 1993-94, when India took on South Africa in the first semi-final of a five-nation tournament organised to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of the CAB.
A game that continues to be remembered by cricket fans in the subcontinent was the semi-final of the 1996 edition, played between co-hosts India and Sri Lanka. The islanders were reduced to 2-2 in the very first over but recovered to 251-8, courtesy an outstanding 66 by Aravinda De Silva. India were 120-8 when the match came to an end.
The ground, which stands on fifteen acres of land in the heart of Kolkata’s legendary Maidan, has undergone several refurbishments over the years. After its latest enhancement, the ground will be able to accommodate 82,000 spectators. One of the changes will be the replacement of the concrete galleries with bucket-seats with greater leg-room.