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banner Thursday, 15 March, 2001, 16:42 GMT
Let joy be unconfined
Supporters celebrate as India win the Calcutta Test
Flags are waved as India clinch victory
Indian journalist Sandeep Singh describes ecstatic scenes as India defeat Australia in Calcutta.

There is an old Indian adage that no player's cricket education is complete until he has played at Eden Gardens.

The Australian team learned its meaning as a volatile crowd, bursting at the seams, provided the ideal backdrop to India's victory charge in the second Test.

An electric atmosphere prevailed in this showpiece venue of the cricketing world as the Aussies were upstaged by a resurgent Indian side, which rediscovered the winning habit despite a despicable batting show in their first knock.

The crowd exceeded the official capacity of 80,000 - but on this particular day no-one cared how many people were allowed in.

Indian fans watch their team beat Australia
Rahul Dravid's 180 made a big impression

The packed galleries were threatening to break all noise pollution records, as India inched towards a dream victory.

The teeming metropolis of Calcutta, and indeed the entire country, stopped in its tracks and their emotions found an echo in the spectators, who lit flash-torches all around the venue to express their joyous sentiments.

Eden Gardens had once agan lived up to its reputation of never failing to amaze and ruffle overseas cricket teams.

The Aussie batsmen could be excused if they found it difficult to concentrate amidst the din generated by conch-shells, bells and the voices of excited spectators.

If the Indian spinners weren't causing enough problems, the side show in the galleries was sure to distract them.

Bengali cricket fans do not need an excuse to celebrate watching cricket - and seeing an Indian win take shape, they went beserk.

Steve Waugh at the post-match presentation ceremony
Steve Waugh and his team have to grin and bear it

Even the coolest Aussie would have begun sweating the moment he stepped out of the dressing room and into a playing area reverberating with noise.

An international cricket fixture involving the national team causes many Indians to report sick and little work would have been done by those who did turn up on Thursday.

Things came to a standstill in Calcutta.

Those unable to get into the stadium camped in front of television sets in offices, at homes, in restaurants and roadside vendor-stalls.

The city was abuzz with cricket talk as 'experts' held court all over the city, giving their opinion on every move by the Indian captain, his bowlers and Aussie batsmen to small captive audiences.

The firecrackers were bursting all around as celebrations spilled over into the streets at the end of the match.

The 'City of Joy' was truly happy this day.

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