Former India batsman VVS Laxman became nostalgic on the 20th anniversary of his game-changing partnership with Rahul Dravid in the 2001 Kolkata Test against Australia.
On March 14, 2001, VVS Laxman and Dravid batted out the entire Day 4 of the Test against Australia to turn the match, and the series, on its head. Celebrating two decades of that achievement, VVS Laxman wrote on Twitter:
“Can’t believe it’s been 20 years! Honoured and humbled to have played my role in a memorable Test match. To be a part of that wonderful team was magical, as was having a fulfilling partnership with my good friend.”
Having been made to follow on, India ended Day 3 of the Eden Gardens Test at 254 for 4, with VVS Laxman unbeaten on 109 and Dravid on 7.
At the start of Day 4, Australia were favorites to win the Test. However, at the close of play, the same two Indian batsmen returned to the pavilion, unconquered. VVS Laxman remained unbeaten on 275 and Dravid on 155.
Both were dismissed on the final day, VVS Laxman for 281 and Dravid for 180. India, however, completed a remarkable comeback, scripting victory by 171 runs.
They also went on to win the series 2-1 following another legendary duel in the final Test in Chennai.
Tried to distract VVS Laxman by flapping my arms like a bird: Jason Gillespie
Former Aussie fast bowler Jason Gillespie, who featured in the 2001 Kolkata Test, recalled that nothing worked against VVS Laxman on Day 4 of the Test. Speaking about the historic match, Gillespie told Sportstar:
“The talk was basically that they were playing well, however, it only takes one ball or one poor shot and we can get a wicket. Unfortunately, the poor shot didn’t eventuate! I did try to distract VVS by flapping my arms like a bird as I was running in to bowl to put him off! It was one of the best innings in Test history. A superb knock.”
Gillespie also pointed out that VVS Laxman had been troubling him right from his U-19 days. The former cricketer added:
“I remember my first trip to India with the Australian Under-19 side and V. V. S. was hitting hundred after hundred back then too. I was well and truly sick of bowling to him by the end of my career.”
Apart from the 376-run stand between VVS Laxman and Dravid, the 2001 Test also saw off-spinner Harbhajan Singh become the first Indian bowler to take a Test hat-trick.