It’s not just the victory from the minnows called team India, it was the counter attack punch from the men-in-blue to the best in the business of that era. We have heard about the many comeback stories of great victories but nothing can match what was done in the Kolkata Test 2001. Where one team was surviving the follow on against the mighty Australians, so the chances of winning it was next to impossible if we could save the test match that would be victory for us.
Australia tour of India for a 3-match test series, led by Steve Waugh and Sourav Ganguly respectively. The first test match was the one sided contest where Visitors (Australia) had dominated the hosts and clinched the easy victory of 10-wickets to continue the winning streak of Steve Waugh captaincy.
Coming into the second test match, team India was the least favourites to have any chance of performing against the undefeated streak of Australia. As the front line bowler Javagal Srinath was ruled out of the series due to injury before the second test match. So now the chances were more less to even compete against Australia.
The visitors won the toss and decided to bat first for the first time in the series and started off in great style from the openers. For a while it looked Australia would dominate the day one completely but young Harbhajan Singh took the Hat Trick to balance out the day's one play with Australia stumps at 291/8.
Australia ended the first innings at 445 runs with the brilliant hundred from the captain Steve Waugh 110 and Harbhajan Singh took 7 wickets in the first innings. So now everything left on the hosts' first innings where this match would end. But team India was all out at 171 runs in the first innings to almost end the hopes of any other possibility apart from another defeat.
Cricket is a game of uncertainties and it was depicted rightly from the day three of Kolkata test match when team India was enforced the follow on after trailing by 274 runs in the first innings. With the start of second innings, team India started in a confident mood but the pressure to save the test match was more and hosts were at the back foot completely at 232/4.
Laxman who was leading run scorer in the first innings continued where he left alongside none other than Rahul Dravid. It was the last batting pair of team India but that last pair had turned around everything for the hosts after they had added on 376 run partnership for the fifth wicket to not only bring back India into the match but also pushed visitors at the backfoot.
Team India never lost the wicket on day's four play and ended with 589/4 with both batsmen remaining unbeaten and got the lead of 315 runs. On the final day team India declared their innings at 657/7 after the brilliant knocks of VVS Laxman 281 and Rahul Dravid 180. The target for the visitors were 384 runs in the 75 overs and it was clear that the match would be ended in a draw as Australia had a great batting line-up to dominate the inexperienced team India bowling line-up.
But Harbhajan Singh one more time displayed to his bowling class that the first innings performance was not fluke at all. Although Australia was in good condition at one point when they were at 166/3 and just 30 overs to survive the day but Harbhajan Singh breached the defense of Australia line-up and destroyed them completely to take 6 wickets in the second innings. Australia only managed to score 212 runs in the second innings and lost the match by 171 runs with the undefeated streak of Steve Waugh came to an end and series by 2-1 later.