There is no doubt that India’s off-spinner Harbhajan Singh’s name will be written in golden letters in the annals of Indian cricket. The ‘Turbanator’ who made his debut way back in 1998, has a whopping 417 wickets to his name in just 103 Test matches. During his decade-and-a-half-year-long career, Harbhajan delivered many mind-boggling performances to help India win both at home and overseas.
He is also the third-highest wicket-taker for India in Test cricket after Anil Kumble and Kapil Dev. Though the decorated off-spinner produced many memorable performances, on his 41st birthday we present his five best Test performances.
6-63 vs New Zealand, Hamilton 2009
Playing the first Test of the three-match series, New Zealand were blown away by the assaults of Harbhajan Singh in their second batting innings. New Zealand collapsed at a score of 279 in their second batting innings as Harbhajan picked as many as six wickets while conceding just 63 runs in 28 overs. On the back of the spinner’s exceptional bowling, India won the match by ten wickets.
3-64 & 5-59 vs South Africa, Eden Gardens, Kolkata 2010
India were hoping for a redemption in the last Test match of the two-match series against South Africa after losing the first game by an innings and 6 runs. Harbhajan Singh emerged as the wrecker-in-chief for the hosts in the time of need as picked a three-wicket haul in the first innings to stop South Africa at a score of 296. This was followed by an even better performance in the third innings as Harbhajan returned with five wickets while conceding just 59 runs. India thus won the match by an innings and 57 runs.
7-133 & 8-84 vs Australia, Chennai, 2001
Australia’s tour of India in 2001 was memorable in many ways. Harbhajan Singh’s exceptional performance was also one of the reasons behind the tour grabbing headlines. The 41-year-old picked as many as 15 wickets across two innings. He returned with the figures of 38.2-6-133-7 followed by 41.5-20-84-8 in the next innings. As Harbhajan brought his ‘A’ game to the fore, India won the series-decider by two wickets.
7-123 & 6-73 vs Australia, Eden Gardens 2001
The second Test match of the three-match series against Australia in 2001 saw Harbhajan delivering another spectacular performance. Harbhajan picked a whopping seven wickets in tbe first innings to stop Australia at a score of 445. It was a 13-wicket haul for the off-spinner as he picked six wickets in the last innings to stop the visitors at a mere score of 212. Harbhajan helped India in winning the crucial game by 171 runs to level the series by 1-1.
7-48 vs West Indies, Mumbai, 2002
Playing the first Test of the three-match series against West Indies, India scored 457 runs in the first innings. The next two innings saw India delivering an incredible piece of bowling as they restricted the Caribbean side to 157 and 188 runs respectively. Harbhajan also played a key role in the same as he breathed fire with the ball in the third innings. The spinner picked as many as seven wickets while conceding just 48 runs.