75 years of independence, 75 iconic moments from Indian sports: No 58- March 14, 2001: Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman’s 376-run partnership against Australia

India will complete 75 years of Independence this year. Here is a series acknowledging 75 great sporting achievements by Indian athletes.

Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman’s 376-run partnership against Australia

Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman’s 376-run partnership against Australia | Photo Credit: HINDU ARCHIVES

India will complete 75 years of Independence this year. Here is a series acknowledging 75 great sporting achievements by Indian athletes.

India will complete 75 years of Independence this year. Here is a series acknowledging 75 great sporting achievements by Indian athletes.  Sportstar will present one iconic sporting achievement each day, leading up to August 15, 2022.

March 14, 2001: Dravid and Laxman’s 376-run partnership against Australia

March 14, 2001 saw one of the most memorable partnerships by two Indian batting stalwarts - Rahul Dravid and V.V.S Laxman - against Australia in the second innings (follow-on) of the second Test match at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata.

They batted throughout Day 4 and helped India reach a formidable score of 657/7 (declared) on Day 5. With the Aussies needing 384 runs to win on the final day, they were all out for 212 runs and handed India a stunning comeback win despite being asked to follow-on.

This win ended Australia’s winning streak of 16 Tests and helped the host draw the three Test series 1-1. The men in blue eventually went on to win the series 2-1.

On March 11, 2001, the second Test between India and Australia commenced with the host trailing 0-1 after the loss at Mumbai. The woes continued as Australia posted 445 in the first innings with skipper Steve Waugh’s 110 and Harbhajan Singh’s hat-trick enlivening the proceedings.

India replied with 171 in which Laxman, stepping in at six, top-scored with a 59. Waugh keen on securing the ‘Final Frontier’, enforced the follow-on and the rest is history. Promoted to number three, Laxman’s incredible 281 (452b, 44x4) and his 376-run fifth-wicket partnership with Rahul Dravid, whose 180 (353b, 20x4) was equally important, altered the contest’s destiny.

India’s second innings score of 657 for seven declared left Australia with a target of 384 on a fifth day pitch. Harbhajan claimed six wickets and India won by 171 runs in a turnaround that had magic and grit woven into it. Laxman rewinds the clock as he talks over phone from Mumbai and true to the man, the over-riding theme is one of modesty: “The first thing I feel is about how lucky and blessed I was to be part of such a wonderful Test.”

 Laxman felt that the can-do spirit is evident in the current team too. As for his 281, all that he feels is infinite gratitude for being part of one of the greatest Tests ever and a series which India won 2-1.

(Excerpts from the Hindu dated 10 th March 2021)

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