When India and Pakistan take each other on in cricket, emotions run high. And sometimes they can boil over. When Pakistan played India in the first match of the Asian Test Championship on February 16, seventeen years ago in Kolkata, it marked another example of crowd trouble at Eden Gardens.
The flashpoint occurred during India's second innings on the fourth day. India were 143/2 with Sachin Tendulkar at the crease. They still needed another 136 runs to win when Tendulkar played a crisp flick to mid-wicket and set off. He took the first two runs easily and as he came back for the third run, he collided with Pakistani speedster Pakistani speedster Shoaib Akhtar. The ball hit the stumps from the throw-in, the Pakistani players appealed, and the third umpire ruled Tendulkar out. (Video above)
A livid 100,000-strong record Kolkata crowd were shocked and expressed their displeasure. Tempers started rising and Tendulkar had to come out personally and pacify the crowd. It worked... but only for a day. On the fifth and final day, another February 20, as Pakistan cantered to victory, crowd trouble broke out again. The police then ejected all spectators from the stadium with Pakistan finishing the match against the surreal backdrop of empty stands.
It was a sorry end to what had, till then, been a captivating match. Pakistan had recovered from 26/6 on the first day to get to 185. And when it was their turn to bowl, Shoaib Akhtar revealed himself to the world, cleaning up Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar with back-to-back yorkers.