When Sachin, Sourav got out, people started to leave the ground: Laxman relives epic 281 at Eden Gardens
After all the excitement, India’s maiden Day-Night Test began on Friday at the iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Virat Kohli lost the toss and Bangladesh got the chance to bat first. However, it proved to be a blessing in disguise as the hosts left Bangladesh reeling at 73 for 6 at lunch, and returned to roll them over for 106. Ishant Sharma was the standout bowler for India with 5 for 22.
At the lunch interval, Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, VVS Laxman and Harbhajan Singh, all of whom have achieved memorable feats at Eden Gardens, came together to create cricketing nostalgia. BCCI President and local hero Sourav Ganguly was also supposed to join them but could not make it as he was reportedly busy with administrative work. Kumble, who picked up 6 for 12 in the Hero Cup final at this very venue in 1993, said,
"We have not had a chance to sit like this since our playing days. It is a special day and there could not have been a better venue for this historic game'.”
Kumble’s figures were the best by an Indian in ODIs for 21 years until Stuart Binny claimed 6 for 4 against Bangladesh in 2014.
Laxman obviously spoke about his stunning 281 against Australia in 2001 after India were asked to follow-on. Laxman, whose innings in the Test is regarded as one of the greatest ever, recalled it,
"I remember when Sachin and Sourav got out, people started to leave the ground. Then me and Dravid had a partnership that helped us beat Australia and this ground has been 'very very special' to me."
Another hero of the 2001 series, Harbhajan Singh took the opportunity to thank Ganguly for backing him and also admitted that Eden Gardens will always be special to him. The veteran off-spinner with 400-plus Test victims said,
“The atmosphere here takes me back to 15 years ago. Test cricket was different back then. It is a special feeling and I feel so much love every time I come here. Hats off to Ganguly for doing this. Even if I play under 100 captains, he will always be my captain.”
On the other hand, Tendulkar, who picked up three big wickets on the final day of the exhilarating 2001 Kolkata Test, opined that the match changed Indian cricket forever. he said,
"The game changed so quickly because of that hat-trick. The way we won the game ushered in a new phase for the Indian team. Bhajji was sensational, got Ricky Ponting out so many times and Laxman and Dravid partnership did wonders for the confidence of the dressing room.”
The Master Blaster went on to score at hundred in the deciding Test of the series in Chennai, which India famously won 2-1.Modified 21 Dec 2019, 01:07 IST