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The Magical Day At The Eden Gardens

It was 14th of March 2001. India were looking down the barrel at the Eden Gardens against the rampaging Australia.

Last updated: 14.03.2019
The Magical Day At The Eden Gardens| Sports Social Blog

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It was 14th of March 2001. India were looking down the barrel at the Eden Gardens against the rampaging Australia. They were following on and effective minus 20 for four. That means, they still required 20 runs to cross Australia’s first innings total and a defeat along with series loss looked just formality. Australia had already won the first test in Mumbai by 10 wickets within three days. That was their 16th consecutive test match win and just a few hours away from making it 17 in a row.

In the first innings, they batted well and then were set back by Harbhajan Singh’s Hat-trick, first hat-trick by an Indian in tests. Steve Waugh managed to get a gritty 100. They bowled out India for 171 and promptly made them following on, confident of an innings Win.

But somehow VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid were not ready to accept the eventuality. VVS Laxman already made a reputation of playing well in Kolkata like his Hyderabadi predecessors like ML Jayasimha and Mohammad Azharuddin. A young Rahul Dravid once batted whole day at Eden Gardens while playing for Karnataka against Bengal. On this day, they decided to become unmovable. They kept adding up to the total and no way the Australian captain Steve Waugh could stop them. The day started with Laxman on 109 and Dravid on 7. Laxman was majestic. Some of his shot-making was out of this world and the way he treated a great like Shane Warne was beyond imagination. Warne tried to use the rough outside leg stump by pitching the ball there but Laxman with his quick feet could move inside the ball and then hit those deliveries through cover or mid-off boundaries. The innings Laxman played that they should be part of any list of all-time great innings by Indian.


Dravid was in his usual solid, correct mode and even after using nine bowlers including Hayden, Slater, and Langer, Waugh could not break the partnership that day. The duo batted undisturbed for the whole day and added 345 runs in 90 overs. Laxman moved to 275 from 109 and broke the record of India’s highest individual score in test cricket.

Dravid moved to 155 from 7 and now India were leading by 325 runs. The drama reached his peak next day when Australian collapsed against the spin of Harbhajan and Sachin Tendulkar, who produced googlies which would make Warne proud and India finished their greatest comeback in test cricket to win the match by 171 runs. In the 100 plus years of history of the test cricket, this was only the third instance of a team winning after following on but the impact was so huge that it made opting for following on the opponents out of fashion. India went on to win a tight third test at Chennai and won the series 2-1, one of their greatest victories and this was the point when the new Indian team started to taking shape which converted themselves to a more successful unit in the twenty-first century.

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