Will India extend its 13-year unbeaten run at Eden?
History, and the crowd, will be behind India in the third Test against England, says Bikash Mohapatra, when they set out on Wednesday to regain lost pride and extend their 13-year unbeaten run at the Eden Gardens.
The English are extremely superstitious about it and may beg to differ.
But 13 is not always an unlucky number, at least not when it concerns Team India at the Eden Gardens.
The historic venue in Kolkata holds the record for holding more Test matches (37) than any other ground in India.
Image: Eden Gardens
Photographs: Rupak De Chowdhuri / Reuters
Eden has the most vociferous, passionate and unforgiving crowd
Traditionally the home of Indian cricket, and definitely the venue with the most vociferous, passionate and unforgiving crowd in the country, the ground has been lucky for the home team when it comes to the game's longer version.
Since losing to Pakistan in the Asian Test Championships in 1999, Team India hasn't lost a Test at Eden Gardens.
That makes for 13 years of uninterrupted run. Among the major Indian Test venues only Ferozshah Kotla (New Delhi), where the home team has not lost in 25 years (since November 1987), and M Chidambaram stadium (Chennai) can boast of a better or matching record.
In fact, in the last 35 years the home side has been at the receiving end on only three occasions -- against West Indies (in 1983) and South Africa (in 1996), besides the above-mentioned defeat to Pakistan.
The venue was also the scene of many significant battles in recent times.
India's eight wicket win over South Africa in 2004 helped the pocket the series, and their innings and 37 runs result over the same opponents in 2010 salvaged a draw, following a humiliating defeat at Nagpur.
And who can forget the history-making 171 run triumph against Steve Waugh's Australian side? It was a match that India won despite following-on and proceeded to prevent Waugh from conquering what he described the 'final frontier.'
Dhoni and company have to produce such an inspirational performance if the hosts are to regain the lost advantage, following the thrashing at the Wankhede last week.
Image: Indian cricket fans crammed into Eden Gardens
Photographs: Mike Hewitt/ALLSPORT/Getty Images
History and the crowd will be behind Dhoni's team
What could prove to be a morale booster for Team India is the fact that they have had the stranglehold over England at the venue. Of the nine Tests played between the countries at Eden Gardens, the hosts have won three, including a comprehensive eight-wicket triumph in January 1993, the last time the two teams played in a Test match at the venue.
England's lone win at Eden came way back in 1977. But their unexpected success at Wankhede might just provide the fillip required to end that horrendous run.
Should they manage to get the better of the home team again, they will save the series.
However, come Wednesday, history, and the crowd will be behind Dhoni's team as they embark on their quest to regain lost pride and extend their 13-year unbeaten run at Eden Gardens.
Image: India celebrate winning the ODI series after the 5th ODI against England at Eden Gardens on October 25, 2011
Photographs: Gareth Copley/Getty Images