Melbourne:A day after Australia suffered a narrow one-wicket loss at the hands of India, the media Down Under agreed that it was their old nemesis VVS Laxman who made all the differences on the final day of the first cricket Test at Mohali.
"Very Very Special Laxman again thorn in Australia's side," a headline in 'Sydney Morning Herald' said.
"Emotions were pitched high. Elephants danced in stomachs as every ball was bowled and a roar greeted every pinched single. Laughter broke out as VVS Laxman, hitherto an iceman, starting waving his arms and berating his partner for lax running between wickets.
"One batsman was wrongly dispatched, another was amazingly reprieved and all the while the ground was agog," the report said.
The first Test saw a nail-biting finish yesterday as the Hyderabadi batsman battled severe back-pain to single-handedly guide India to a narrow one-wicket victory over the visitors with a gritty unbeaten 73 on the fifth day.
"Laxman was the key figure on the final day. All things seem possible whilst he remains at the crease. Australians and tension bring out the best in him. Romps in the park make him appear humdrum.
"Here he produced an astonishing array of strokes, pulls played without footwork, caresses through cover, flicks off his hip and all the while he kept his head," said the daily. Laxman cracked eight fours during his 79-ball stay on the middle.
Meanwhile, another daily 'The Australian' blamed captain Ricky Ponting for giving Laxman enough rooms to play his game.
"The impregnably brilliant VVS Laxman have combined to deny Australia victory," a report said.
"Laxman, who was batting with a runner because of a bad back, farmed the strike as Ricky Ponting offered singles early in the over and attempted to restrict them late. Mix-ups threatened and both sides were at fever point as they knew a single mistake could cost the game. As it probably did," it added.
Another newspaper 'Courier Mail' even linked the defeat to their Ashes series loss last year when they squandered an early lead against England to ultimately go down in the five-match Test series.
"Australia lost their once-famed killer punch in England last year and the fact that it is yet to return is a desperately worrying sign ahead of the revenge Ashes battle this summer," the daily said.
However, the report also highlighted that playing India on the sub-continental wickets is one of the toughest jobs for any team.
"Lets get one thing straight - losing to India on the sub-continent is no disgrace. Plenty of great Australian teams have returned home from those dry dust beds with their tails between their legs," it said.
"But the manner of the defeat tells a much bigger story. It continues the theme from the Ashes last year when Australia could not convert the dominance of having six of the top seven runscorers in the series and the three top wicket-takers," said the report.