SK Flashback: When Harbhajan Singh ripped the heart out of Australia’s batting at the Eden Gardens
Harbhajan's spell not only broke the backbone of the Aussie batting but also gave Anil Kumble a much-needed spinning partner.
Harbhajan Singh is known to be Australia’s nemesis and it was the Kangaroos’ tour in 2001 that kickstarted the career of the Turbanator. He was young, exuberant and dynamic and was oblivious of who he was bowling to and it struck gold for him.
On this day in 2001, Harbhajan scampered to become the first Indian to register a hat-trick in Test cricket when he bagged the feat in the second Test of the series at Eden Gardens, Kolkata. Back in those days, the Australians were world beaters and carried with them an aura of invincibility, beating opponents black and blue irrespective of the venue and nature of wickets. However, come this day in 2001, that aura was set for a cruel shattering as an Indian off-spinner cooked up a storm in Kolkata
17 years down the line, Harbhajan might have gone out of the radar, but his imprints are too profound to fade away in the future. We roll back the years as we hand-picked five intriguing moments from the arguably the greatest Test match in Indian cricket history.
#1 Australia carried forward the momentum from Mumbai
After mauling India in the first Test at Mumbai, the Aussies were on a rampage at the Eden Gardens. Matthew Hayden, after a scorching ton at the Wankhede, replicated the same form as he carted the Indian attack, stranding the Indian bowlers who were struggling for ideas.
Michael Slater enacted the role of an apt foil, as he tied down the Indians with some buoyant batting. Slater was eventually dismissed for 42 runs, but with a 103 run opening stand, he had helped craft a smooth platform for the Australian batsmen to take off.
Justin Langer, Hayden’s next partner, outscored the big man by scoring at a fair clip of approximately four runs per over. In a partnership of 90 runs, Hayden was the subdued partner while Langer kept on peppering the boundary ropes to score 58 runs. Australia, after the 53rd over, were cruising along with 193 runs with another massive score on the cards.