VVS Laxman's 281 Against Australia Rated as Greatest Test Knock in Last 50 Years

Updated: 04 January 2016 20:11 IST

VVS Laxman's knock of 281 against Australia in Eden Gardens in 2001 has been rated as the greatest Test performance of the last 50 years.

VVS Laxman's 281 Against Australia Rated as Greatest Test Knock in Last 50 Years
VVS Laxman's 281 and his 376-run partnership with Rahul Dravid helped India pull off a memorable come-from-behind victory against Australia in Eden Gardens. © AFP

Eclipsing several other great individual knocks, VVS Laxman's masterly innings of 281 against Australia at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata has been rated as the greatest Test performance of the last 50 years. (Virender Sehwag Tells VVS Laxman Scoring 300 in Domestic Game Not Easy)

The honour was accorded to the Hyderabad stylist's fabulous series-turning knock after India trailed by 274 runs on the first innings, by his fellow-players, commentators and journalists in a poll published in the January issue of ESPN's digital magazine the Cricket Monthly, a media release said. (VVS Laxman Says India Have a Great Chance in Australia)

Laxman, promoted to no. 3 after his first innings' 59 out of a team score of 171, came up with his magical innings and also added 376 runs for the fifth wicket with Rahul Dravid (180).

In his tribute, one of seven by participants in the Test, leg spin legend Shane Warne recalls: "I was bowling in the footmarks and Laxman was hitting the same ball through cover or whipping it through midwicket. It was so hard to bowl then."

Ricky Ponting remembers that "his work through the leg side in particular was a source of wonderment to many of us... Ultimately we bowled for near enough to two days at him without even looking like getting him out."

India teammate Zaheer Khan, also his room-mate, recalled how Laxman slept on the floor through the match because of a bad back, while Andrew Leipus, the then Indian physio, revealed the full extent of Laxman's physical challenge.

The surprising and controversial part of the top 50 list is that none of Sachin Tendulkar's 51 Test hundreds have been considered worth making the list while David Gower's feat of scoring 72 and 28 for England in the Ashes Test at Perth has got the 32nd rank.

Tendulkar, often compared with Sir Don Bradman, had scored his maiden century, 119 not out, as a 17-year-old boy against England to rescue India at Manchester on his first tour to that country.

That has not been found worthy of finding a place nor has his 114 against Australia at Perth in bouncy and windy conditions against a top pace attack in 1992, when still in his teens, made it to the list of top 50 performances in the last fifty years.

West Indian batting great Brian Lara has the most entries in the list of 50, with four, including the No. 4: the nerveless 153 not out versus Australia in Barbados in 1999.

Ian Botham, who has three entries in the 50, comes in with two in the top five: the dazzling all-round shows in the Headingley Ashes Test of 1981 (No. 2) and the Golden Jubilee Test in Bombay (now Mumbai) the previous year (No. 5).

Michael Holding's 14 wickets against England with supreme pace on a batting track at The Oval in 1976 is at No. 3, and performances by Richard Hadlee, Bob Massie, Muttiah Muralitharan, Graham Gooch and Garry Sobers round out the top ten.

West Indian players have as many 14 entries in the 50, the most by any team.

These include the two earliest performances on the list: Sobers at Lord's and Headingley from the 1966 series in England.

The most recent performance is Kevin Pietersen's 186 in Mumbai in 2012.

The 25-member jury, drawn from all Test-playing nations, includes veterans like Greg Chappell, John Wright, Tony Cozier, Mark Nicholas, Sanjay Manjrekar, Mike Selvey, Ramiz Raja, Scyld Berry, Osman Samiuddin and Gideon Haigh, the release added.

Topics : VVS Laxman Shane Warne Ricky Ponting India Australia Cricket
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