Published By: Nibandh Vinod
Last Updated: March 14, 2023, 08:44 IST
On Day 5, VVS Laxman was dismissed after a heroic 281. Rahul Dravid went on to score 180.
India made history as they not only ended Australia’s dominating undefeated run of 16 Test matches, but also became the third team to win a Test match after being asked to follow-on at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata in 2001
In one of the greatest comebacks in cricket, India scripted history as they defeated Australia by 171 runs at Eden Gardens on March 15, 2001. It is the very same date, when the first ever first International Test match was played back in 1877 between Australia and England, which Australia went on to win.
However, it was on March 14 when Indian cricket witnessed one of its greatest comebacks as VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid stitched a historic partnership of 376 runs and led India out of trouble.
India won in style despite the odds stacked against them and it is one of those spectacular comebacks where the home team won the match after being asked to follow-on. Pride and reputation were at stake back in 2001 when India were facing one of the greatest Test sides the cricketing world had ever seen.
Representing Australia were the likes of Matthew Hayden, Justin Langer, Mark and Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting, Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath; whereas for India, there was Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, Sachin Tendulkar, Venkatesh Prasad, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh.
In the three-match Test series, Australia won the first Test by 10 wickets at Wankhede and looked good to seal the series with a win in Kolkata. Australia won the toss and opted to bat first. Skipper Steve Waugh led from the front by scoring 110 as the visitors posted 445 in the first innings. Harbhajan Singh had gone on to claim seven wickets in the first innings, but the onus was on the Indian batsmen to take matters into their hands.
It was not the perfect start for the hosts as the Australians bowled out India for 171 in the first innings. Steve Waugh decided to enforce the follow-on as the lead was 276.
However, what happened thereafter was unprecedented in history. On Day 3 of the match, India were at 254/4 as Laxman smashed his century while Dravid, played his role by being ‘The Wall’. On Day 4, the two batsmen tormented the visitor’s attacking line up as they finished the day with 589/4 on the board. On Day 5, Laxman was dismissed after a heroic 281. Dravid went on to score 180 before being run out and Ganguly decided to declare at 657/7.
In order to win the match, Australia had to chase a target of 384 runs in 75 overs remaining in the final day. While Harbhajan spinned his magic, weaving his hand with the ball was also Tendulkar, who went on to dismiss Hayden, Gilchrist and Warne. Harbhajan saw off the middle-order and claimed his second five-wicket haul to help India register a historic 171 run victory over Australia on the final day.
India made history as they not only ended Australia’s dominating undefeated run of 16 Test matches, but also became the third team to win a Test match after being asked to follow-on.
The Ganguly-led India side went on to win the three-match series 2-1 and it was none other than Harbhajan Singh, who ended the series with 32 wickets. It was only fit as India displayed grit, determination and commitment as the side broke through and scripted history.
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