March 14, 2001: VVS Laxman Recalls Indian Cricket's Day Of Defiance
VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid batted out the whole day against Australia as India bounced back from following on to with the Test.
March 14, 2001, is a landmark day in the annals of Indian cricket. It was on this day that India snatched victory from the jaws of defeat as VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid stitched together an iconic partnership against Australia at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Laxman on Wednesday took to Twitter to recall the historic occasion with a heartfelt tweet which read, "Some days give us an opportunity to know ourselves better & realize what we are capable of.17 years ago was one such day, which reemphasized my belief that we should not give up and an opportunity to serve my country. Was not just me and Rahul, but Bhajji ,Sachin and the whole team".
Some days give us an opportunity to know ourselves better & realize what we are capable of.17 years ago was one such day,which reemphasized my belief that we should not give up and an opportunity to serve my country. Was not just me and Rahul,but Bhajji ,Sachin and the whole team pic.twitter.com/Z9Pivm2NSx— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) March 14, 2018
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) also lauded the legendary duo for their effort 17 years ago and their post read: "#ThisDayThatYear in 2001 VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid scripted a historic Test comeback ever at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata #TeamIndia"
The two legends of Indian cricket batted all day in the second Test of the three-match series against Steve Waugh's men and took the hosts from 254/4 to 589/4 after following on in a ground-breaking comeback and eventually ended up winning the game.
The touring party arrived at the Indian shores riding on a record 15-match winning streak and extended it to 16 with a comprehensive 10-wicket win in Mumbai.
Australia won the toss and opted to bat first in the second Test. Openers Matthew Hayden (97) and Michael Slater (42) put on a 103-run partnership, followed by a gritty ton by skipper Steve Waugh (110) as Australia posted 445 in their first innings.
Harbhajan Singh ended up taking India's first Test hat-trick but his 7-wicket haul couldn't prevent the visitors from posting a mammoth total.
Glenn McGrath was the wrecker-in-chief as early on Day 3, India were all out for 171 inside 60 overs and were asked to follow-on. Laxman was the only one to show some resistance as he top-scored with 59.
In the second innings, openers Shiv Sunder Das (39) and Sadagopan Ramesh (30) showed some intent but soon India were in a spot of bother with the scorecard reading 115/3.
McGrath got rid of Sachin Tendulkar (10) and it seemed that another batting collapse was on the cards. Sourav Ganguly promoted VVS Laxman to No. 3, owing to his fine form, and the duo put together a 117-run stand before Ganguly was sent back for 48.
At the end of Day 3, India were at 254/4, still, 20 runs behind Australia with 6 wickets in hand.
Day 4 turned out to be the day that changed the course of Indian cricket history.
Laxman and Dravid batted out an entire day, taking the likes of McGrath and Shane Warne to the cleaners.
Laxman accumulated 275 runs and Dravid notched up 155 as the duo remained unbeaten at the close of play on Day 4 with India at 589/4.
Laxman was eventually dismissed on the last day for 281, India's then highest individual Test score, while Dravid departed for 180. Their 376-run stand meant India had set Australia a target of 384 runs to win the Test.
Harbhajan claimed six wickets as India won the match by 171 runs, breaking Australia's unbeaten streak and drawing level in the series.