It is not too often that the Indian team goes to the second test in a home series being one down. But that is what they will have to do when they take on each other at Eden Gardens Kolkata. The match starts on Valentine's Day but rest assured there won't be too much of love between the two teams. The South Africans will play to defend the No. 1 test ranking that they got beating India in the Nagpur Test. MS Dhoni and his men will play the test to regain the No. 1 tag.
The Indian batting line up which crumbled like a pack of cards in the Nagpur Test will be boosted by the return of VVS Laxman. The worrying factor for them will be the absence of Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh both of whom are out with injuries. The moral of the team is down after the innings defeat they suffered in the first test. All the batsman expect for Virender Sehwag in the first innings and Sachin Tendulkar in the second innings looked out of sync.
Eden Gardens has been a happy hunting ground for the Indian cricket team as far as Test matches is concerned. Who can forget the epic performance by VVS Laxman against Australia when the Indian team came from nowhere to win the test match in 2001. The Test which many say was a turning point in Indian cricket also saw the coming of age of another hero Harbhajan Singh who foxed the Aussie batsman during the test to earn the tag of 'Turbonator'
There have been a lot of rumours and skepticism around the pitch at the Mecca of Indian cricket. The Indian team had secretly expressed its desire to have a turner after having failed to stand up against Dale Steyn at Nagpur. But the curator has opposed the idea of last minute tampering with the pitch. The South African team will come prepared to play on a mine-field. The memories of Kanpur test in 2008 will still be fresh in the minds of the Proteas.
The Eden test will not only be a test of nerves for the Indian team but it will be a test of character. Many cricket pundits have mocked at India's No. 1 ranking citing they hadn't played against the Australians and the South Africans in the last 18 months. This will be a real test for Dhoni and his men to silence all their critics and rightfully claim the No. 1 position in Test Cricket again. Graeme Smith and his men will surely not make this task easy!