Chennai and its tryst with thrilling Tests

Dec 15 2008, 21:58 IST
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SummaryCheck with the locals if the Chennai Test cricket fans were gradually decreasing and they reluctantly shake their heads.

As the chase got intense the Chepauk started to fill up gradually by afternoon but still it was far from being called jam-packed. One could still figure out the colour pattern of the seats in the stands even during the thrilling final session. As word spread around Chennai about the thrilling chase at Chepauk, the gate money increased but surprisingly there was still space for many more. The late-comers called up friends to inform that tickets and even they were not disappointed when they turned up.

Check with the locals if the Chennai too is becoming another venue where Test cricket fans were gradually decreasing and they reluctantly shake their heads. They do confess that the 'house full' Tests was a thing of the past but still watching the game from the stands wasn't yet passé.

Proud about the long history of interesting games witnessed at Chepauk, they say unlike outsiders, the cricket-crazy Chennaites are quite used to final day thrills and spills. A glimpse of the recent history of the game in this region shows that Chennai has witnessed three very exciting final days. One went India's way, the other they lost and the third ended in a tie.

In these parts the cricket fans have got a feel of the all the emotions that go with an intense game. India and Australia were locked at the same score in 1986 while 13 years later India lost a heart-breaking game falling short by 14 runs against Pakistan.

But the one game that Chennai, or the rest of the world, can't forget happens to be the thrilling climax to the historic 2001 series against Australia. With the series tied 1-1 before the Test started at Chepauk, the anticipation for the third Test here was overbearing. And when India chased down the 155 runs in thrilling fashion, finally the fans got to see a result for which they had waited for so long.

But there are a few skeptics who say that it is only a matter of time before Chennai could also turn into just another Test venue. The city with a team in the Indian Premier League is now guaranteed to get its doze of cricketing excitement annually. And since that is the case there are very few people left who are willing to spend four days in the stands waiting for a not sure certain thrilling end to a Test match.

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