The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Friday's big fight
- Metro breezes through the build-up to and the basics of the war of the willow

Big boys'

Play hard by day, play harder by night ' at least in the run-up to Friday's day-and-night Eden Gardens showdown.

Wednesday night found at least three fleet-foot soldiers of the Greg Chappell army hot-footing it to a popular night club in town. If spinner Murali Kartik and all-rounder JP Yadav hit Shisha before 11 pm, Mahendra Singh Dhoni joined the party after midnight. 'My dancing looks like aerobics,' admitted the soft-spoken hard-hitter.

All-rounder Yadav had no such problems, burning up the dance floor with his Kajra re moves. But there was no doubt who the star was ' all cell phone cameras and handshakes were aimed at Dhoni. 'I have to greet everyone, otherwise they'll say star ban gaya hai,' smiled the man, who digs Bollywood music and has last seen Sarkar and Aashiq Banaya Apne.

Big boss'

Keeps a polite distance. Ever since checking in, Chappell 'kept to himself and his laptop', said hotel staff.

His Wednesday dinner (pasta) and Thursday breakfast (cereals and fruits) were served in the room, and he only stepped out for an Indian lunch at the Sonargaon with his team.

'This was the first time in recent memory that all members of Team India sat down for a meal together,' said a source, attributing the departure in dining etiquette to a coach who does not want his flock to scatter.

Busy bees'

Began to swarm Eden when Team India turned up for a workout in the afternoon. If the presence of the Sachins was a draw, the absence of Sourav was a damper.

'I am here, like always, for a glimpse of the Indian team. Yet, this time, it is different' there is an emptiness without Sourav,' said teenager Gaurab Bose. 'We cannot forget Sourav and cannot forgive Chappell,' declared Soma Das, a fan from Jadavpur.

But inside Eden, when Chappell and the boys stepped on to the green carpet, the cheer from the motley gathering must have gladdened the hearts of cricket-lovers (led by the chief minister) and the law-keepers (led by the police commissioner).

And most importantly, the cheers drew a spontaneous wave and a half-smile from the Aussie 'hard man' himself.

Travel tips...

Traffic movement will be restricted/regulated from noon on Auckland Road, North Brooke Avenue and Kingsway.

Metro Railway will run six additional trains, at 15-minute intervals, from 10.27 pm at Dum Dum and 10.30 pm at Tollygunge. The last trains will leave Dum Dum and Tollygunge at 10.57 pm and 11 pm, respectively..

Crowd count...

The CAB is expecting a full house ' 'more than 75,000 people' ' at the Eden. Only a few Rs 900 and Rs 1,200 tickets are on offer on match-day morning.

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