He has often been the unsung hero for Indian cricket. Now as he walks into the sunset after ending a glorious career, we remember the number of times VVS Laxman has played the innings of his life for his country. A look at the ten best knocks by India's very own 'Very Very Special' Laxman. (AP & AFP Photos)
281 vs Australia at Kolkata 2001 India won by 171 runs: This was the innings that catapulted him to stardom. India were asked to follow on by Australia and looked set for an innings defeat. Laxman's knock of 281 in the company of Rahul Dravid who scored 180, set up a daunting target for the Aussies who faltered in the run chase.
167 vs Australia at Sydney 2000 Australia won by an innings and 141 runs: On a tour which had nothing to remember for Indian cricket, VVS Laxman was their silver lining. On a fast pitch at the SCG the Indian innings folded for 261 runs out of which 167 were scored by Laxman. The way he handled the likes of Warne and McGrath in difficult conditions showed that here was a budding talent who could go on to shine for India in the future.
148 vs Australia at Adelaide 2003 India won by 4 wickets: India were struggling at 85/4 in reply to Australia's 556. Once again the pair of Laxman and Dravid came to the rescue. While Dravid won the accolades for his 233 Laxman's 148 was equally important to set up a famous Indian win Down Under.
178 vs Australia at Sydney 2004 Match drawn: In Steve Waugh's farewell Test Laxman once again chose to torment his favourite opposition. His innings of 178 gave ample support to Sachin Tendulkar who got his form back with an unbeaten 241 as India plundered over 700 runs in their first innings. Only stubborn resistance by the Aussie batsman in the fourth innings prevented an Indian victory as the series ended level at 1-1.
103 not out vs Sri Lanka at Colombo 2010 India won by 5 wickets: Trailing 0-1 in the series India needed 258 on a tricky pitch to win the third Test. Battling injury, Laxman once again delivered when it mattered to his team. He fought against the pain and carved a beautiful unbeaten century to script a famous win and save India from a series defeat.
91 vs New Zealand at Ahmedabad 2010 Match drawn: The Kiwis had India by the scruff of the neck taking the first five wickets for 15 runs and looked set to inflict a heavy defeat. In came VVS and thwarted the bowlers with his calm yet effective strokeplay. With Harbhajan Singh who would hit his maiden Test hundred, VVS led the resistance and salvaged a draw from a hopeless situation.
96 vs South Africa at Durban 2010 India won by 87 runs: With a 74 run lead in the first innings India needed a substantial score to set the Proteas a sizeable target. Laxman's patient 96 got India through to a respectable total which ultimately saw them win by 87 runs to register only their second Test win on South African soil.
200 not out vs Australia at Delhi 2008 Match drawn: Australia have always been Laxman's favourite bread and butter. At Delhi in 2008 on a wicket which was made for batting he chose to cash in once again as he hit a double hundred and remained not out. However the wicket didn't help India either while bowling and the match ended in a dull draw. This match is remembered as it was Anil Kumble's last Test who announced his retirement on the last day.
73 not out vs Australia at Mohali 2010 India won by 1 wicket: Set 216 to win India were down and out at 124/8. When all seemed lost VVS Laxman chose to play a 'Very Very Special' innings. He hit 73 runs while batting with a runner and was instrumental in one of India's greatest Test wins over the then world champions. India would go on to win by 1 wicket and Australia's confidence was severely dented.
176 not out vs West Indies at Kolkata 2011 India won by an innings and 15 runs: Eden Gardens has been VVS Laxman's home ground as far as runs are concerned. In 2011 he played what would be last innings at his favourite ground and what a way to sign off! He plundered 176 runs off the West Indies bowling as India put up a 600 plus score and went on to win the match by an innings.
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