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"Dravid came into the Test drained by viral fever" - VVS Laxman recalls 2001 Eden Gardens heroics

VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid stitched one of the greatest partnerships in Test cricket history
VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid stitched one of the greatest partnerships in Test cricket history
Vinay Chhabria
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Two decades have passed since VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid's epic partnership against Australia at Eden Gardens. Celebrating the 20th anniversary of that Test, Laxman penned a column for TOI, recalling the top moments from that match.

Despite Harbhajan Singh's 7-wicket haul in the first innings, Australia managed to enforce a follow-on on Team India. The hosts were 232/4 when vice-captain Rahul Dravid joined hands with VVS Laxman in the second innings. The two Indian batsmen dominated the Aussies and had a record-breaking 376-run partnership for the fifth wicket.

VVS Laxman wrote about Rahul Dravid's selflessness in his latest column. He mentioned how he played a game-changing knock for the team, despite suffering from viral fever.

"Dravid came into the Test drained by viral fever, and cramped up at various stages during his brilliant 180. He was the vice-captain, yet he had to cede his No. 3 position to me in the second innings, but not once did he show his displeasure, if at all he did feel it.
"How to bail the team out of the pickle was his only focus, and the determination he showed in shutting everything else out, was a wonderful lesson," VVS Laxman stated.

VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid's extraordinary performance ensured Australia received a 384-run target to win. Harbhajan Singh scalped six wickets in the second innings, while Sachin Tendulkar dismissed three Aussies as India won the match by 171 runs.

What has stayed with me are the life-lessons the extraordinary game threw up: VVS Laxman

VVS Laxman scored 281 runs, while Rahul Dravid aggregated 180 runs
VVS Laxman scored 281 runs, while Rahul Dravid aggregated 180 runs

Australia went into the Kolkata Test with a 16-match winning streak in the game's most extended format. They had also crushed India inside three days in the opening Test in Mumbai. Still, the hosts eventually reversed the deficit and won the series 2-1.

Speaking about the life lessons he learned from the Test at Eden Gardens, VVS Laxman added:

"While the victory was beyond sweet, what has stayed with me are the life-lessons the extraordinary game threw up. Such as, never give up, no matter what. However tough things might seem, you need to keep looking for solutions instead of being bogged down by problems. You must trust your ability, and of your mates doing battle with you.
" You must stay in the present, not think about what has happened or what might happen. Set small targets, and when you reach them, refocus instead of getting carried away. These truisms are a part of everyday life, not just on the cricket field."

VVS Laxman was the highest run-scorer for Team India in that series, with 503 runs in three Tests. His 452-ball 281 in the second Test remained his highest score in international cricket.


Edited by Prem Deshpande
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