Office-goers, who took leaves, and school and college students, who missed their classes, were welcomed at the stadium with large Tendulkar posters, which quoted the champion batsman as saying: "Enjoy your game and chase your dreams, because dreams do come true".

Die-hards fans walked in with 'Sachin' painted on their faces in tri-colours. Among those in attendance were Tendulkar's wife Anjali and son Arjun, who came from Mumbai to cheer him for the second last time.

The toss started amid chants of 'Sachin, Sachin' but fans were left disappointed as India lost the toss and West Indies chose to bat first in the opening Test of the two-match series. Half of the seats in the 65,000 capacity Eden were empty.

On hearing the news, many fans chose to stay away from Wednesday's proceedings as they wanted to watch their favourite cricketer bat for the last time at the historic Eden Gardens.

"I will come tomorrow instead. All I want is to see Sachin bat. This is my last opportunity to see him in action here," said banker Vinay Thakur, who cancelled his office leave at 9 am after checking the toss result on his cellphone.

(Agencies)

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