Kolkata:Eden Gardens is known for its packed stands during international cricket matches, with visiting sides often feeling intimidated by the raucous crowd. But the ongoing South Africa-India second cricket Test is an exception. There are large vacant spaces though only half the stands are available for the spectators.
Though Eden Gardens has a capacity of 90,000, only 45,000 seats were available for this match. Four of the stands have been demolished now as part of renovation for the World Cup next year.
However, barely 20,000 spectators turned up on each of the first three days, making it one of the lowest-attended Test matches at the historic venue, which held its first Test 76 years ago in 1934.
Douglas Jardine's England and the C.K. Nayudu led India had then finished with a draw.
Since then, Eden and its huge crowd known for its deep understanding of the game had become a part of the cricketing folklore.
But with the advent of one-day cricket and in recent times the Twenty20 version of the game, the popularity of Test cricket has hit a low.
Still, even during the last Test played here in 2007, the venue recorded more than 30,000-40,000 attendance as Indian and Pakistan cricketers battled it out.
"The modern day cricket fan is more interested in the shortest version of the game, no more in Test cricket," said Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) joint secretary Biswarup Dey.
However, he pointed out that the first Test at Nagpur had recorded a pathetic average attendance of 1,000 on the first two days. "In that way, Kolkata is much better off."
After trying to push only season tickets worth Rs.1,500 and Rs.750, the CAB resorted to selling daily tickets but that also failed to attract the crowd.