5 instances when VVS Laxman proved to be India’s disaster management specialist
There are few names in Indian cricket that still hold a special place in history. The likes of Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, Anil Kumble, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman, all played a crucial part in taking Indian cricket to new heights.
Tendulkar was India’s run machine, Kumble made the opponents dance to his tunes, Ganguly was India’s best captain back then, Dravid’s perseverant game meant India could always count on him and Laxman was their go-to man during a crisis.
Together, they experienced mixed emotions; the 2003 World Cup heartbreak, the epic Border-Gavaskar Trophy draw in 2003, the historical Test series triumph in Pakistan in 2004 and many such moments were scripted by this clan.
These players set the bar very high for future players to scale. Their retirements indeed marked the end of an era, leaving India with a huge void to fill.
Then came a new run machine, Virat Kohli, to fill Tendulkar’s shoes, and a Ravichandran Ashwin who would eventually show signs of bettering Kumble. Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara’s temperament and old fashioned technique would immediately draw comparisons with Dravid. Ganguly’s achievements were overshadowed by MS Dhoni, who went on to become India’s best-ever skipper by winning all possible ICC Trophies.
However, five years have passed since Laxman retired and India still haven’t found his perfect successor. There were several occasions when the Hyderabadi batsman shattered the opponents’ bowling attack to pull off a miraculous victory for India. Let’s look at five such games:
#1 India vs Australia, Kolkata Test, 2001
Batting for 631 minutes, the epic knock of 281 at Eden Gardens highlighted the name Vengapurappu Venkata Sai Laxman as one of the best in this format. The mighty Australians enforced the follow-on after they earned a lead of 274.
High on confidence, Steve Waugh and his boys, who were already 1-0 up in the Border-Gavaskar Series 2000-01, aimed to make it 2-0 in Kolkata.
Little did they know that a stubborn yet elegant Laxman was waiting on the other side. He built a classic 376-run stand with Dravid for the 5th wicket that took India past 600. India declared on the final day before Harbhajan Singh’s heroics – a 6-wicket haul – handed India a historic victory by 171 runs.