The Eden Gardens Test against Australia in 2001 is considered to have been one of the best contests in the longest format.
Out in the field for quite a while then, Australia’s Shane Warne recalled how it was being on the field for almost 180 overs, watching VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid script one of Test cricket’s greatest comebacks.
In reply to Australia’s first-innings total of 445, India were bundled out for 171. However, after Steve Waugh decided to enforce the follow-on, Dravid and Laxman’s record 376-run partnership for the fifth wicket laid the groundwork for India’s mammoth 657/7 declared, a stage from where they came back to win the Test match, becoming only the third team in history to win a Test after following-on. Warne, who finished with 1/152 from 34 overs, recalled his and Australia’s long day on the field.
“I remember standing in slips in between bowling about 4000 overs and getting hammered around the ground. I discussed my favourite movies with Adam Gilchrist, we swapped hats, and tried everything to try and not think about it. My favourite songs… I think we were delirious,” Warne said on air during the third Test between England and Pakistan at the Ageas Bowl.
That said, Warne took nothing away from Laxman and Dravid’s effort. Coming together at 248/4, the two batsmen batted an entire day – and a total of 104 overs – with Laxman carving a place for himself scoring in history with a career-best knock of 281. The knock helped raise Laxman’s stocks and he reached unprecedented heights from there.
“But they played beautifully, Laxman and Dravid. In my time, it was as good an innings as there was. Laxman’s innings was beautiful, Dravid was exceptional too. Sometimes you just have to say ‘too god’,” Warne added.