Test match popularity on test at Eden

Test cricket's popularity in India has taken a nosedive, and Kolkata is no different. The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), however, has put on a brave face and is claiming that unlike Ahmedabad and Mumbai, Eden Gardens will witness a decent turnout during the third Test match that starts from December 5.

Season tickets are priced at Rs 500, 1,000 and 1,500 for and so far only 5,000 tickets have been sold. A renovated Eden Gardens has a capacity of 67,200.

On Friday, Captain Alastair Cook's men checked in at the city and were greeted with tepid response. The England team, with back-to-back century maker Cook and very popular and in-form Kevin Pietersen, left the Kolkata airport almost unnoticed and got into the team hotel without any hassle.

Cricket fever is yet to grip the city but preparations are in full swing at the Eden. Today Joint Commissioner of Kolkata Police Jawed Shamim made a recce of the stadium and said that from Saturday onwards police will guard the wickets. "It is nothing new. We always do it before and during an international match. But usually we take charge of the pitch and ground two days before the start of the match. This time we are doing it earlier just as a precaution," Shamim said.

"As usual there would be a three-tier security for this match with watch towers and sand bunkers," he added. Some works are still unfinished but by the time the police commissioner comes for a final inspection on December 3, everything is expected to be okay.

The CAB will be felicitating two former captains, Ted Dexter from England and India's Nari Contractor, during the Test. This is to celebrate 80 years of India-England cricket - a sporting rivalry that started in 1932. Dexter and Contractor are the two oldest surviving captains. Both will be presented with silvers sticks, ties, blazers and shawls.

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