When Laxman and Dravid joined hands to create the ‘Miracle of Eden’


Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie and Michael Kasprowicz. On almost every occasion in their heydays, this quartet could have been backed to blow away any batting unit. However, on 14th March 2001, these four bowlers were reduced to their knees. VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid batted out a complete day of Test cricket to return unharmed. The defiant stand paved the way for India’s most magnificent win in Test cricket. Let’s revisit the day it all happened!

Australia won the Mumbai Test and led the 3-match series 1-0 with 2 matches to go. When the entourage moved to Kolkata, the Aussies had accumulated 16 consecutive Test wins. Another win was imminent.

Batting first, Australia recovered from Harbhajan Singh’s hat-trick to post a first-innings total of 445 all-out. India collapsed in reply and conceded a mammoth 274-run lead. VVS Laxman’s 59 was the only shining light in India’s capitulation. The Hyderabadi batsman was promoted to number 3 in the 2nd innings after Australian Captain Steve Waugh asked India to bat again.

The home team began the second inning cautiously. Openers Shiv Sundar Das and Sadagopan Ramesh added 52 runs for the 1st wicket. Laxman took over from the openers and batted without fear. The wristy batsman regularly dispatched the ball towards boundary ropes with his silken touch. Skipper Sourav Ganguly also flourished, albeit briefly. He was out after a stroke-filled 48 as the third day of the Test came to an end. India were poised at 254/4 with Laxman (109*) and Dravid (7*) at the crease.

The next day, the duo of Laxman-Dravid first got India out of the arrears. They then steadily played out everything hurled at them. Waugh tried as many as 9 bowlers but none could separate the Indian pair. The runs kept coming, the milestones fell behind one by one and India marched towards domination for the first time in this Test match.

When the day’s play ended, India had raced to 589/4. Laxman with an unbeaten 275 had already secured his place in the record books as the highest Test score by an Indian. Dravid on 155 silenced his critics in the best-known way – with runs. This was the fourth instance of Indians batting out a whole day without losing any wickets.

McGrath eventually broke through on the final day. The marathon 376-run partnership came to an end as Laxman returned after scoring his personal best score of 281. The number is now synonymous with this Test match. Laxman batted for more than 10 hours while striking 44 boundaries. Dravid was run out after a splendid knock of 180; he had held the fort for around 7 hours with 20 fours to his name.

Ganguly ultimately declared the innings on the last day with a handsome lead of 384 runs. The Indian spinners jumped into action and kept chipping away with regular wickets. Harbhajan Singh finished with six wickets while Tendulkar sent back three batsmen. India secured the historical triumph with a margin of 171 runs.