HomeLatest News20 Years Since, VVS Laxman Recalls India’s Greatest Test Victory!

20 Years Since, VVS Laxman Recalls India’s Greatest Test Victory!

It has been 20 years since India won that famous Test against Australia at Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Australia enforced a follow-on and India were trailing by massive 273 runs. India had already lost the first Test in Mumbai by 10 wickets in under 3 days. The Aussies were on a 16 match winning streak. It all looked down and out for India. The crowd too had given up on India after they were bundled out for 171 in response to Australia’s 445 in the first innings. Here is how VVS Laxman’s victory glorified,

India’s mini-defiance on Day 3:

The only positive for India in their first innings debacle was VVS Laxman’s half-century. He was the only batsman who looked comfortable against the Aussies. Sourav Ganguly, the captain, and coach, John Wright, asked Laxman to walk in at number 3 in the 2nd innings. As Laxman had earlier batted at number 6 in the first innings while it was Rahul Dravid who occupied the number 3 slot. India had a decent opening partnership in the 2nd innings but it was soon broken after they stitched a 50-run stand.

India received a severe setback when Sachin Tendulkar was dismissed for just 10 and the scorecard read 115-3. Local boy Ganguly then joined Laxman and forged a partnership of 117 runs. In walked Rahul Dravid. The pair took India to 254-4 at stumps on day 3. Laxman was unbeaten on a century. India was still 19 runs short of avoiding an innings defeat.

The epic partnership on Day 4:

Laxman and Dravid went unscathed in the opening session scoring 122 runs. Laxman bought up his 150 in the process. No one knew that he was probably playing the best Test innings of all time. Dravid on the other end got to his half-century. India kept piling on the runs and Steve Waugh led Australia had no clue.

Laxman was hitting Shane Warne towards mid-wicket and covers from the rough. He was playing a special knock. Dravid on the other hand was determined personified. The pair battled the whole day without losing a single wicket. India scored 335 runs on day 4 and Laxman, Dravid was still at the crease. Laxman crossed 250 while Dravid crossed the 150 marks. India was 589-4 at stumps on day 4. India was leading by 316 runs.

VVS Laxman’s victory:

Laxman was dismissed for 281 on the fifth day. It was the highest Test score by an Indian back then. Dravid was out on 180. India declared at 6567-7 setting Australia a target of 384. The match looked set for a draw at Teatime with the Australian score reading 161-3. In an inspired captaincy move, Ganguly asked Tendulkar to a bowl and the match turned on its head completely. Tendulkar picked up 3 and Harbhajan Singh grabbed 6 to shock Australia and the world. India won the greatest comeback Test by 171 runs and squared the series 1-1.

 Laxman’s memories on the great Test:

Laxman still believes that the Test was nothing short of a wondrous miracle. He stated, “Just the magnitude of the situation and to play in that fashion against a tough Australian side, even today it gives me goose-bumps and sort of teaches us that nothing is impossible in life.”

He went on to add that, “Three days before the match, while batting I had a stiff back. Later in the hotel, our physio Andrew (Leipus) asked me to see myself in the mirror after asking me to remove my shirt. I was shell-shocked, my entire upper body had tilted to the left side. I almost cried. Andrew reassured me and thanks to him and to John’s (coach Wright) desire that I play even if I was 70 or 60 percent fit, all that worked in my favor, otherwise probably I wouldn’t have played.”

VVS Laxman can’t stop praising Rahul Dravid enough:

Laxman had special praise for his batting partner Dravid. He quoted,” When Rahul came in, I was nervous, he was batting at number three and now he was coming at six. Usually, Rahul doesn’t talk much when he comes in but this time he did the fist-bump and he tells: ‘good going, let us keep up the fight’. We had a decent partnership on the third day evening and I got to my 100 and while walking back Rahul told me, ‘I am so proud about the way you batted the whole day.”

VVS Laxman gushed about the epic partnership. He went on to add, “Jamy (Dravid) mentioned let’s have a goal of batting the whole day! And like the way we batted together for South Zone, there was a certain amount of calmness with Rahul. The toughest phase was after tea, Rahul came into the Test with a viral fever and I was struggling with my back. The Australians were coming hard at us. We endured the pain and kept motivating each other.”

The Bhajji Special:

VVS Laxman reserved special praise for Harbhajan Sing too. He stated,” Bhajji had great rhythm, the ball was drifting towards slip, turning and bouncing sharply. With Sourav’s ability to give security to a youngster, Bhajji bowled with a lot of freedom.”

The feeling of being part of the Greatest Test:

VVS Laxman feels infinite gratitude for being part of one of the greatest Tests ever and a series in which India won 2-1. The greatest Test which changed India’s Test cricketing fortunes forever.

Vignesh Rajagopal
Vignesh Rajagopalhttps://stumpsandbails.com/
I am a passionate cricket lover, who likes to express his views on the beautiful game and share insights and analysis about the finer aspects of the sport.


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