This day, that yr: Reliving VVS Laxman’s epic stand with Rahul Dravid in opposition to the mighty Aussies at Eden Gardens
VVS Laxman’s partnership with Rahul Dravid on Day 4 of the 2nd Test against Australia at Eden Gardens in 2001 is still regarded as one of the best partnerships in Indian Test cricket. After winning the toss, and electing to bat, Australia had posted a mammoth total of 445 in the first innings, courtesy a brilliant ton from skipper Steve Waugh. In response, with Aussie pacers breathing fire, India were bundled out for 171, trailing by 274 runs.
The visitors enforced a follow-on. In the 2nd innings, skipper Sourav Ganguly decided to change the batting order. Laxman was promoted to the no.3rd position, while Rahul Dravid came out to bat at no. 6th position. At stumps on Day 3, India were 254/4 with Laxman on 109* and Dravid on 7. India were still trailing by 20 runs, and hence, Australia were hoping to wrap up things on Day 4. But on March 14, 2001, Laxman and Dravid changd things dramatically.
The duo notched up one of the best partnerships as they faced full 90 overs, scoring 335 runs without being separated. Laxman went past Sunil Gavaskar’s record of being the highest individual Test-run scorer for India, while Dravid, too notched up his ton. India finished Day 4 at 589/4, putting the pressure back on Australia.
On the fifth and final day, Laxman went on to score 281 before he was dismissed by Glenn McGrath. The hosts declared the innings after Dravid was run out for 180. With 657/7 on board, India had set up a huge target of 384 runs for the Aussies to chase.
With Harbhajan Singh picking up a hat-trick, and recording figures of 6/73, India bundled out Australia for 212, winning the contest by 171 runs and level the series 1-1. The Kolkata victory ended Australia’s 16-match winning streak while this Test was only the third instance in history when a team had won a match after following on.