The Border Gavaskar Trophy 2001. The unknown true story of Eden Garden. The invincible Aussie won the 16 Tests in a trot at that point. But do you know the true story of Eden Gardens. India had just humiliated at Wankhede Stadium by the invincible Aussie. The true story that happened in the nets, in the minds and ended in an IV life.
What was the partnership between Laxman and Dravid
It was the partnership of 373 runs between both. The invincible Aussie enforce the Follow on to Team India. After that Rahul Dravid and VVS Lakshman played for two days and have a partnership Stand of 373 runs between them to save the match. India had won that test match by 171 runs.
How Harbhajan Singh Came into the team
The Story starts, with the veteran Spinner Anil Kumble. He was injured and not the part of the squad. He was ruled out form the test series. The rest of the spinners of the team hadn’t even played at least 10 test matches in total. The young spinner Harbhajan Singh was suspended for indiscipline had been recalled. He was recalled due to Captain Saurav Ganguly’s insistence. Famously Saurav Ganguly declared that I am not leaving this room till I get Harbhajan in my team. On the other hand, Harbhajan Singh’s best figure at that time was 3 for 30 runs.
The Debacle of Wankhede Stadium
Australia finished Mumbai test in 3 days. India could not score more than 200 in a single innings. The Captain of India, Sourav Ganguly was boot off the ground by angry Mumbai crowd at Wankhede Stadium.
For Team India, there is no respite at Kolkata
When the plane carrying the Indian team landed in Kolkata for the second test. Things were about to get more worse. Indian Spearhead Javagal Srinath was declared unfit due to the fractured finger. Rahul Dravid the third most experienced player in the team, felt sick with the flu. He was put on bedrest. He was battling with fever and dehydration. Rahul Dravid was used to practising hard before the match. The first time, he couldn’t touch the bat before the match, when he was walking out to bat at Eden Gardens. VVS Laxman on the hand after finishing his daily net practice just two days before the test. He went to physio and complaint of back pain. Physio saw his back and stumped, showed his own back in a mirror. Laxman’s spine had tilted to one side. Any extra damage could result in long-term disfigurement. He was to be put on compulsory bed rest.
In-experienced blowing line up
So, two days before the test, there is no experience spinner in the team. No Ace Pacer in the team. Two of the main batsmen on compulsory bed rest. This was going to be an unmitigated disaster.
How India enforced for Follow on
Australia scores 445 runs in the first innings. India yet again fails to score 200 and getting all out on 171 the morning of Day 3 of second test. Australian bowlers asked their captain not to do the follow on. This is getting too boring they said. Let just sit relaxed they said. But in the simple temptation, Aussies can end this match that day itself that by getting two extra days for relax. Then they decided, lets finish it today then. In the Indian dressing room though on account of VVS Lakshman is the only one, who score fifty in the first innings. David the senior batsman was asked to switch places with Lakshman a junior from third place to sixth place. Dravid was obviously dejected. But being the gentleman that he is. He made way for his Junior. When Sachin got out, the entire stadium emptied. India on cube looked about to lose the plot.
The Miracle that Happened
On day 4, at least some people return to see Sourav batting. But by the time when Sourav Ganguly got out and Rahul Dravid came out to batting not even pigeons for watching the match. Rahul Dravid was welcomed by the Australian players though. They sledge him by saying, first you batted at number 3. Now you are coming at 6, now you will be out of the team. They sledged and sledged and Dravid and Laxman had played out the entire morning session.
Hot and Humid Eden Gardens
The condition at the Edne Gradens were very hot and humid. By lunch though, Dravid on severe medication on hot and humid Kolkata summer dehydrated and exhausted. Started having cramps, unbearable pain, coursing through his body.
Determination of VVS Laxman
VVS Laxman constantly talking with Rahul Dravid. VVS Laxman make ensured that Rahul Dravid didn’t lose his focus. VVS Laxman. He disclosed later, that he never talks so much on the pitch, till that date. As he did in one session on that day. As another session ended and players returned in tea break.
How Team Supports Dravid and Laxman in unique way
Having save the test match, nobody congratulated to Laxman and Dravid. Nobody even talks to them. The entire team just sat at the exact same place they did during the lunch break. Pretending that everything is normal. Member of Team India Pretending that Jagmohan Dalmia hadn’t announce a price of 1000 rupees for every run they scored. Pretending that Laxman had ‘not just surpassed Gavaskar record. Pretending that the entire stadium wasn’t full of people who had returned to watch. Something magical in the making. Pretending that Indian players bringing drink to field had not started sledging the Australians in return. They just sat pretending that a miracle wasn’t happening right before their eyes.
The Last Session of Day’s Play
On the last session though Laxman’s back, finally gave out. He couldn’t move anymore and Laxman who had popped up through the entire afternoon was supported by the in the evening. Rahul Dravid single-handedly faced 80% of all the bowling making sure no matter what, a wicket didn’t fall, Lakshman didn’t fall.
End of 4th Day Play of Test Match
And the day ended, both the batsman walks back to the pavilion. They Quickly fell on a bench, immediately needing an IV, especially Rahul Dravid because dehydration had properly set him. Lakshman and Dravid had played the entire day.
Pride of India Saved by Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman
Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, saved the test. They had saved India’s pride. Well in the end, lot of people say it could have been Just another brilliant partnership. if Sachin Tendulkar wouldn’t get three wickets of top order batsmen and Harbhajan Singh wouldn’t get the wickets of remaining batsman.
It would have been Just another match; CRICKETAM agree, without wearing this match and winning the next match and hence winning the series. Everybody would have forgotten this, CRICKETAM agree, but what CRICKETAM don’t agree to is that anyone who knows anything about cricket not knowing what truly happened on that day.
The Final words form CRICKETAM
How two batsmen in no condition to even playing Gully Cricket played an entire day against the Invincible Aussies. How to players battling unbearable pain kept on batting on quality time. Just to make sure that their country doesn’t loose. How two players propped up the hopes and dreams and aspirations of an entire country and kept on play One volatile and another, and another.