On this day in 1996, one of the darkest chapters in the history of cricket was witnessed after India’s debacle in the semi-final of the ODI World Cup. In the contest, captain Mohammad Azharuddin invited the Lankan Lions to bat first in the highly-anticipated clash.
Openers Sanath Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluwitharana were dismissed in quick time as Javagal Srinath handed India a dream start to the contest. However, down the middle-order, Aravinda de Silva, Roshan Mahanama, skipper Arjuna Ranatunga, and Hashan Tillakaratne returned scores of 66, 58, 35, and 32 runs respectively to steer the side to a respectable 251 runs on the board. Meanwhile, Javagal Srinath got a three-wicket haul whereas Sachin Tendulkar got two wickets to his name in the first innings.
In response to the total, India suffered an early setback as opener Navjot Singh Sidhu fell for just three runs. Despite that, Tendulkar continued to play his attacking innings along with his partner Sanjay Manjrekar. The Master Blaster notched up his half century and got to 65 runs off 88 balls before getting dismissed to Jayasuriya.
Tendulkar’s dismissal marked India’s dramatic collapse as they fell like a pack of cards. The home side slumped to just 120 runs for eight wickets but what followed was unexpected scenes at the venue. As the two teams contested at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, fans were enraged with India’s dismal performance with the bat.
In addition to that, fans began hurling bottles on the field and one area in the stands was set on fire and the game was stopped by match referee Clive Lloyd. Though the match referee advised a 15-mintue breather to cool off, fans however, did not stop their rogue behaviour. As a result Sri Lanka were eventually handed a win by default and the abysmal scenes in Kolkata remain etched in the memory of cricket fans till date.