Kolkata Test 2001: A New Era of Indian Cricket

Kolkata Test 2001: A New Era of Indian Cricket

Kolkata Test 2001: A New Era of Indian Cricket

Kolkata Test 2001

The match between Team India and Australia in the second week of March 2001 was loaded up with heaps of surprises, a few innings of life, and an incredible fightback by team India. This match is widely considered as one of the greatest test matches in the history of Cricket. The Kolkata Test match will remain in cricket history as a cult-classic forever and inspires each time you watch it.

Today I’m Delving deep into this match & coming up with my insights. I have divided the match according to days played. Here is our first day of the Kolkata Test match. 

Let’s delve into it.

Kolkata Test: First Day

 

The second Test between India and Australia at the Kolkata Eden Gardens March 11 to 15, 2001. Australia won the toss and elected to bat first. Australian Batsmen, MJ Slater and Mathew Hayden were all set to start the first innings of the Kolkata Test match. As usual, Aussies Batsmen started dominating the Indian Bowling Attack and Completed 50/0 runs in 16.5 Overs. Australia was in a comfortable position with 88/0 after 26 Overs.

Kolkata Test 2001: A New Era of Indian Cricket

Kolkata Test 2001: Mathew Hayden Innings

Post Lunch Aussies Batmen Hayden Completed his Half-Century, and the team total crossed 100 run mark. Aussies Openers provided a solid layout by putting on a 103 run partnership. Zaheer khan gave the first break to team India by getting the wicket of Slater (42). The next Batsman is Justin Langer, Hayden. Along with Langer, they made the scoring pass 150/1 and added another 90 runs with langer.

At 193 runs, Harbajan Singh dismissed the dangerous Hayden. He contributed 97 runs for the Aussies. Steve Waugh, the Australian Skipper, is the next batsman. Harbajan Singh was in a great rhythm from there and consecutively took the wickets of Justin Langer at 214/3 and then Mark Waugh. Aussies are at 236/4.

Now there was a twist in the tale, Australia became overprotective, and they started Shielding the wickets to control the Further Damage. But, Harbajan Singh is just unstoppable; he claimed a hat trick by Successfully Dismissing Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist, and Share Warne. This feat by Bhaji is the first-ever international hat-trick by an Indian bowler.

Kolkata Test 2001: A New Era of Indian Cricket

Kolkata Test 2001: Harbajan Hat-Trick

Australia Score was 252/7. The Only Recognizable Batsmen was the Skipper Steve Waugh, but Australia lost one more wicket in the form of Kasprowicz. Now Aussies were in Deep Trouble with 269/8. At the End of the First Day Australia, 1st Innings was at 291/8 with S. Waugh at 29 runs, and Gillespie at 6 runs in the crease. Australia has dominated the first two sessions of the game and later lost a quick 7 wickets in the last session, giving team India an advantage.

Kolkata Test: Day-Two

 

Australia began the 2nd day with an overnight score of 291/8; most of the experts thought that adding 50 more runs will be a respectable total for Australia. But Steve Waugh didn’t succumb to the Indian Bowlers; he Played incredibly well by partnering with the tail-ender Gillespie. The Aussies crossed the 300 score mark, and a new ball has been taken. Indian Captain roped in seam attack against the Aussies batsmen but in vain.

Steve Waugh & Gillespie started running the scoreboard and completed 350 Runs and crossed many landmarks.  At lunch, Aussies were 383/8 with Waugh at 82* and Gillespie at 38* Runs. Australian Batsmen dominated Indian bowlers in the first session and registered a record partnership for 9th wicket. 

Kolkata Test 2001: A New Era of Indian Cricket

Kolkata Test 2001: Steve Waugh Century

Post Lunch Bhaji Strikes again, and Gillespie (46) is gone & that’s breaking 133 runs Partnership. Even Though India got him, the damage was already done. Along with the 11th Man McGrath, Steve Waugh added 43 more runs and placed Aussies in a comfortable position; he likewise completed his Century.

This is the first hundred for steve Waugh in India, and he celebrated the knock with an emotional gesture. Waugh completed 24 centuries and tied with Sachin; he also passed Javid Miandad to become the 4th highest run maker in test history. Australia lost its last wicket in the form of Steve Waugh, with 445 runs on the board.

Team India failed to keep the momentum from the first day, and Australia was in a comfortable position with the heroic innings of Steve Waugh. India has to play long innings to challenge Australia’s total and, at the same time, need to lead the runs scored by Aussies.

India started the first innings with the duo SS Das & S Ramesh. India needs an extraordinary opening partnership to fight against Australia. But India lost the first wicket without scoring any runs, S Ramesh was a duck out. Indian started the innings very poorly, Gillespie provided the first break to the Aussies.

The next batsmen were the wall Rahul Dravid. India was 32/1 preceding the tea break. In the next session, the India debacle starts. SS Das lost his wicket to McGrath, and India was 34/2. The next batsman was little master Sachin, but Mcgrath strikes again; he caught before the wickets and scored 48/3.

Then team India skipper is ready to bite the bullet and build a 40 run partnership with Rahul Dravid, but it didn’t last for long. Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly both reached the pavilion at the same score, Shane Warne and Kasprowicz claimed the wickets, and team India was in deep trouble with 88/5.

Kolkata Test 2001: A New Era of Indian Cricket

Kolkata Test 2001: Australia Bowling

Two fresh batsmen Laxman and Mongia, were in the crease. Team India expected a miracle, but nothing happened, Mongia and Harbajan were also dismissed in two successful deliveries, and the score was 97/7. Indian Innings started at 34/1 and later crumbled to 113/8. 

Even though the collapsing of wickets continued, VVS Laxman, with the assistance of tail-enders starting scoring runs, at the end of Day 2, India was at 128/8 with two Hyderabadis Laxman at 26* runs and SLV Raju at 3* runs not out. As expected, India completely surrendered to the Australian bowlers and finished day two in a difficult situation. Cricket experts predicted that Australia winning will be on the cards and quoted them as favorites to extend the winning streak to 17 Wins.

Kolkata Test: Third-Day

 

India started the day 3 with an overnight score of 128/8. A big contribution from the lower order batsmen is required to avoid the follow on. But SLV Raju was out, and India’s score was 129/9. The next is the 11th man BKV Prasad. With his help, Laxman added 42 more runs, and India was All-out for 171 Runs. Laxman is the top scorer with Fluent and graceful 59 runs. Laxman’s dismissal was later proved unfair since it was a Judgmental error from the ground umpire.

With this debacle, Australia captain, as expected, awarded the team India to bat again. I.e., Follow-on. India has to defend the total and score a huge aggregate to save the Kolkata Test match or draw it. In the history of cricket, a team has only won thrice playing a follow-on.

India is playing against Australia, and at that time, the Aussies were unstoppable with 16 continuous matches winning streak. So, making a draw match was considered a Herculean task for team India. India started the second innings with openers SS Das & S Ramesh.

Indian openers should play an outstanding knock to save the Kolkata Test match. India openers furnished a good solid start with 50 runs partnership. Adding 50 runs open partnership for the first time in the series. But team India didn’t convert it into a big partnership.

S Ramesh got out at 52 runs, and the next batsman in the crease was VVS Laxman. Indian skipper thought of sending Laxman as an opening batsman since he was in great touch and playing diligently; team India roped in Laxman in place of Rahul Dravid, where the first down spot is generally dedicated to Rahul Dravid.

Kolkata Test 2001: A New Era of Indian Cricket

Kolkata Test 2001: Laxman Playing a                        Cover Drive

Laxman, along with SS Das, partnered 45 more runs to the scorecard, and SS Das Got out 39 runs. Team India was at 97/2 at that time. The next batsmen are Sachin Tendulkar. Rahul Dravid is still sitting in the dressing room; Sachin should play a crucial inning to save team India since everybody has huge expectations Sachin. As we know, expectations always hurt, Sachin got out, and team India was at 115/3; it was a second continuous failure in the Kolkata Test for Sachin.

The cricket fraternity expected that Rahul Dravid would be the Next Batsman. But India Skipper is still on Protective mode regarding Rahul Dravid. He took a strategic move, and he entered the field and joined the hands with Laxman.

Before the Tea break team, India was at 122/3 with Laxman at 33* & Ganguly at 4* Runs. Laxman completed 50 runs after tea; the scoreboard started progressing rapidly since both the batsmen repaired the damage and contributed 100 run partnerships for the 4th wicket. 

Team India crossed the 200 run mark, and everybody thought that India is on the safe side with incredible contribution from Ganguly and Laxman, but when the score was at 232 runs. McGrath gave a break to the Aussies by dismissing Ganguly at 2 runs short of a half-century. India lost the Skipper, and that was an end of 117 run Partnership.

Kolkata Test 2001: A New Era of Indian Cricket

Kolkata Test 2001: Laxman & Ganguly

The next batsman was Mr. Wall Rahul Dravid; as expected, Rahul Dravid started playing a protective knock, and Laxman completed his well-deserved 100 runs in Dravid’s Company. Laxman kept his pressure under control and played a swashbuckling knock. Team India crossed 250 runs in the process, and at the end of the 3rd-day team, India was at 254/4 with VVS Laxman at 109* Runs and Woeful Rahul Dravid at 7* runs.

Kolkata Test 2001: A New Era of Indian Cricket

Kolkata Test 2001: Laxman Century

Team India was still trailing, and short of 20 runs, a small inevitable event will lead to a complete collapse. So, team India batsman Laxman and Dravid should play an out-of-the-blue & Composed innings to save team India. Dravid should defend & at the same time, Laxman should exploit the Motto for team India.

Kolkata Test: Day Four

 

This was the most important day in the Kolkata test match. A new ball has been taken, and Glen McGrath was ready to attack with his Spell. Rahul Dravid and Laxman started facing the Australian bowlers effortlessly and scored the runs like a thirsty crow, and the team crossed 300 runs.

Laxman Completed 150 runs in 233 balls. The Duo, in the process, made the score pass 350 runs. Rahul Dravid completed 50 runs in 121 balls, a sigh of relief since he was out of the form for a while. Before Lunch, Team India was at 376/4 with Laxman at 171* runs and Dravid at 50* runs.

Kolkata Test 2001: A New Era of Indian Cricket

Kolkata Test 2001: Laxman & Dravid Marathon                                   Innings

Team India was at 122 runs lead. This bounce back from team India was never expected from any cricket analyst at that time. Post lunch break, the Run flow didn’t stop, team India completed 400 runs, and VVS Laxman Completed 200* Runs with the most stylish and historic knock.

The body language of Australian cricketers has changed completely, and just like Indian Batsmen Succumb to Australian bowlers in first innings, Aussies bowlers completely surrendered to Indian Batsman. 

Kolkata Test 2001: A New Era of Indian Cricket

Kolkata Test 2001: Frustrated Aussies Bowlers

This is Because of the Patience showed by Dravid and aggression under control feat knock by Laxman. Team India Completed 450 Runs, and Rahul Dravid Completed his 9th test Century and First against Australia. He unusually celebrated his knock by waving at the press box, shutting the media/press’s mouths who criticized him for his poor form.

Kolkata Test 2001: A New Era of Indian Cricket

Dravid Century

Before the tea break, Team India was at 491/4 with Laxman at 227* runs and Dravid at 106* runs. Team India was at 215 runs Lead. Post tea break, India crossed 500 runs, and at the same time, Laxman broke the record of highest individual test score by an Indian Batsman, i.e., Sunil Gavaskar 236* runs. Laxman emerged as the highest individual Score maker in an innings for team India at that time.

Laxman completed 250 runs with 41 boundaries; Team India crossed 550 run mark, and MR. Wall Completed his 150 runs. At the end of the Fourth day of Kolkata Test Team India, it was 589/4 with Laxman at 275* runs, and R. Dravid at 155* runs. Team India got a 315 run lead by the end of the Fourth day.

Kolkata Test 2001: A New Era of Indian Cricket

Kolkata Test 2001: End of the Fourth Day

These two batsmen played for the whole day by sending shivers to the Aussies Team. Aussies bowlers are frustrated completely. This Partnership between Laxman and Dravid is just astonishing because they both understood the situation, focused on the game without losing temperament, and ended up scoring a memorable knock in cricket history. This commitment from these players was just incredible.

Kolkata Test: Day Five

 

Laxman and Dravid entered the ground with enriched enthusiasm, but when the score was at 608, India lost the 5th wicket in Laxman, which ended the 376 run Partnership. Laxman departs, he got a standing ovation for his immeasurable contribution to the match.

The next batsmen were Nayan Mongia, he didn’t last for long, and Team India lost a quick wicket, and then followed by Rahul Dravid, team India score was at 629/7. Even Rahul Dravid received a standing ovation from the Eden Gardens crowd for his efforts to save the Kolkata Test match along with Laxman.

Zaheer khan and Harbajan Singh were in the crease; Zaheer, with the inspiration from the former batsmen, did some fireworks by scoring a quick 23 runs. Indian Skipper declared the Second innings at 657/7. Team India Got an Incredible lead of 384 runs, thanks to Laxman and Dravid for their gusty knock.

Kolkata Test 2001: A New Era of Indian Cricket

Kolkata Test 2001: Ganguly Declaring the                                           Innings

Australia has to score 384 runs in a minimum of 75 overs since it was the Kolkata Test match’s final day. With a required rate of about 5 runs per over. Winning the Kolkata Test match is almost uncertain for Australia, but a draw may be on the cards. Aussies should play cautious innings to save the match.

See how funny the game of cricket is; first, India tried hard to save the Kolkata Test match, and with heroic innings of Laxman and Dravid not only saved the match but set an impossible target in front of the Aussies. Now Aussies should protect the Kolkata Test match at any cost.

As Expected Aussies openers, Hayden and Slater provided a good start. Before the lunch break, Aussies were on 24/0. After the lunch break, Australia crossed the 50 run mark, and when the score was at 74 runs, Harbajan Claimed the wicket of Slater by providing the first break to team India.

The next man was Justin Langer; he scored 28 runs and gave his wicket when Aussies were at 106/2. Harbajan provided one more wicket to Team India. Hayden Completed his 50 runs, and n Mark Waugh was in the crease, but he got out without scoring a run. Aussies were at 116/3. The next batsmen are the Australian skipper Steve Waugh who is the first innings hero for the Aussies.

The duo started playing very solid, and before the tea break, the Aussies were at 161/3 with Hayden at 59* runs and Waugh at 23* runs. With only 30 overs remaining, Aussies batsmen looked very confident, and everyone thought that a draw would be on the cards.

Harbajan did the magic again, just like the first innings. He dismissed the dangerous Steve Waugh and Ponting consecutively, suddenly Australia was in trouble. The scorecard was at 166/5. Harbajan proved his mettle again with his outstanding bowling and paved the way for a dramatic end.

Kolkata Test 2001: A New Era of Indian Cricket

Kolkata Test 2001: Harbajan Singh Strikes

Since the ball is turning a lot, the Indian Skipper handed the ball to Sachin Tendulkar. He removed Gilchrist for the first ball to everyone’s surprise, and the Aussies were at 167/6. The duo Harbajan and Sachin started troubling the Aussie’s batsmen, and in the next few overs, Sachin dismissed the mighty Hayden followed by Shane Warne. Australia was at 174/8. Sachin might have failed with the bat, but he showed what he could do with the ball on a given day.

Kolkata Test 2001: A New Era of Indian Cricket

Kolkata Test 2001: Sachin Magic with the Ball

Complete speculation in the stadium, India needs to take two more wickets to win the Kolkata Test match, and the Aussies have to defend 25 more overs to settle with a draw. Jason Gillespie and Kasprowicz have to take the burden to save their team. They both dragged the innings to 9 more overs, and when the score was at 191, Harbajan strikes again and dismisses Gillespie. The next batsmen were McGrath, this partnership lasted for 10 more overs, and Harbajan again claimed the final winning wicket.

Harbajan took 13 wickets in this match, and Team India completed a sensational 171 runs Victory. This is only the third time in the history that a team played a follow-on and won the match; the funny part was Aussies is the opponent team on all these 3 occasions.

Kolkata Test 2001: A New Era of Indian Cricket

Kolkata Test 2001: Team India Celebrating the                                    Victory

In an interview, Laxman said that the 2001 Kolkata Test innings had changed many lives along with him and taught him how to deal with difficult times. Laxman touched on many aspects. Laxman’s magnificent innings at the Eden Gardens in 2001 is still fresh in the minds of fans. Laxman won the Test for India with his unforgettable innings (281). He was supported by Dravid (180) and Harbhajan Singh with 13 wickets.

The Incredible Fighting spirit displayed by team India in the Kolkata Test will remain in this Cricket History forever.

VVS Laxman, in Particular, showed what a potential batsman could do when he gets a popular chance to prove himself. He completely dismantled the Australian bowling attack under pressure. Harbajan showed how lethal he was when the ball keeps turning; his never giving up attitude is phenomenal.

Sachin sets an example that a person may fail in one department but can still be successful in another field. Lastly, Ganguly’s captainship is just incredible; his decision and stubborn nature in handling the match’s situations like demoting Dravid and prompting Laxman to bat, giving the ball to Sachin & using the bowlers on time proved once again that he is a great captain for team India. Anything can happen at any time; even a team with a continuous winning streak can come to a halt when the opposite team never gives up and shows wit and courage in struggling time.

In particular, Laxman said that One woman said that she was in a difficult time at that time, and the Kolkata Test was heartbreaking to see & that innings had changed her life. Lakshman said it was his fortune to be one of the cricketers. 

This spirit of team India will teach us a lot of life lessons and when negativity surrounds. All the doors are closed, when all the energy in you will vanish, still you should fight back, your mind will pay according to what you think, So stay positive until your last breath and Don’t accept the defeat beforehand, prove that you are here for something. Converting negativity into positivity is what matters.

Kolkata test is the testimonial that anything can happen anytime you handle the situation will make you how you are. This match unleashed the new era of Indian Cricket History.

References

  • https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/15565/scorecard/63920/india-vs-australia-2nd-test-australia-tour-of-india-2000-01
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Test,_2000-01_Border_Gavaskar_Trophy
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Hayden
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Waugh
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rahul_Dravid
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VVS_Laxman
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sourav_Ganguly
  • https://www.cricbuzz.com/live-cricket-scorecard/5965/ind-vs-aus-2nd-test-australia-in-india-2001
  • https://www.cricket.com.au/news/steve-waugh-exclusive-kolkata-2001-follow-on-no-regrets-david-warner-australia-india/2017-03-03
  • https://www.indiatoday.in/sports/cricket/story/india-vs-australia-2001-kolkata-eden-gardens-gods-test-match-sourav-ganguly-1632207-2019-12-28
  • https://english.manoramaonline.com/news/columns/vantage-point-raghavan/2018/02/25/kolkata-test-2001-india-australia-laxman-dravid-ganguly.html

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