VVS Laxman: 5 best Test knocks against Australia
"Always the Artist, Never the Superstar"- Harsha Bhogle on VVS Laxman
The above quote by Harsha Bhogle reflects the strong self-less character of VVS Laxman every time he walked out to play. Vengapurappu Venkata Sai, aka VVS Laxman, was a team player to the core. One of the most elegant batsmen ever to grace the world of cricket, he was a magnificent combination of picturesque strokeplay, sublime timing and terrific defence technique which means he was a nightmare for the opposition bowling attack.
If you have ever witnessed him handle the blade, you know quite well how great of a wrist magician he was. His exquisite wrist work, everytime he directed a delivery outside his off-stump through the mid-wicket, is something that the entire cricketing fraternity applauds to the date.
The stylish batsman was well-known for the way he handled his balance and effortless strokeplay- never tried to hit the ball too powerfully but still, the ball raced to the boundary ropes, teasing even the quickest of the fielders.
He is an inspiration to many young cricketers like Hanuma Vihari, the latest youngster to earn the Indian Test cap, who cited VVS Laxman as his inspiration.
VVS played some phenomenal knocks in his career, be it Test cricket or ODIs. Every time the sound Indian batting line-up crumbled, the entire nation of India looked upon him to clear the muddle and guide India to safety. Averaging 45.97 in 134 Test matches, VVS registered 8781 runs for India which include 17 centuries, 56 half centuries and 2 double centuries.
Laxman's knocks against Australia, in particular, always stood out. At that time, Australia was the toughest team to beat as the team consisted of players like Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne, Jason Gillespie and Ricky Ponting to name a few. Against Australia, VVS delivered everywhere- from Kolkata to Adelaide.
Let us take a look at 5 marvelous VVS Laxman knocks against Australia in Test cricket that spoke volume for his masterclass and cricketing IQ.
1) 73* (1st Test at Mohali; Oct 1-5, 2010)
Laxman anchored India to a much-needed victory at Mohali back in 2010 in one of the most thrilling Test encounters ever. Chasing 216 to win, India lost wickets at regular intervals as India's top and middle-order consisting of players like Sachin, Dravid, Sehwag, and Gambhir crumbled and India were 124/8 and headed towards a defeat.
Facing a back injury, and with Ishant Sharma at the other end, a composed and collected Laxman handled the pressure quite well. Not only did he reply with a counter-attack strategy that baffled the opposition, he guided the tailender Ishant to survive against the remarkable Austrailian bowling attack.
The way he faced and guided Ishant to face the dreadful reverse swing bowling by Ben Hilfenhaus, Mitchell Johnson, and Doug Bollinger was a treat to watch.
Ishant contributed crucial 31 runs, but when he got dismissed and the scoreboard read 205/9, indicating 11 more runs to win, Laxman quite maturely guided India towards victory with a struggling Pragyan Ojha, contributing 73 unbeaten off 79 deliveries.