Team India’s Revenge-India’s Boxing Day Test heroics reminds of historic Kolkata test in 2001: Melbourne 2020- Kolkata 2001; Similar situation but two different fightbacks.
Rahane’s men took revenge for their horror show in series opener in Adelaide by thrashing Tim Paine’s army in Melbourne to level the 2020 Border Gavaskar series at 1-1.
Earlier, Ajinkya Rahane produced one of the finest knocks in Test cricket as he turned back the clock to the historic 2001 Eden Test where VVS Laxman single-handedly revived India’s hopes against Australia.
Rahane’s 12th century in the longest format of the game and Ravindra Jadeja’s well-made fifty gave India firm control in the second Test. It was a Test master-class from Rahane as he played the first two sessions cautiously and then unleashed his true class after the tea on Sunday. If one session had cost India the first Test, it was again a session — which Rahane and Jadeja weathered on day two — that saw the visitors bag the second game.
Shastri was in awe of Rahane’s leadership skills and heaped praises on the batsman for his “unbelievable” knock in the first innings.
India came into the second Test in Melbourne after recording their worst ever performance in Test Cricket history and with an extremely depleted squad sans regular skipper Virat Kohli and bowling spearhead Mohammed Shami injured.
However, Rahane played a true captain’s knock of 112, one that was an epitome of skills, patience, resolute defense, determination, and bloody-mindedness to turnaround the tables from Adelaide- where India recorded their worst ever performance in Test cricket after being bundled out for a mere 36 runs.
Rahane had come to the middle after India had lost back-to-back wickets of Shubman Gill and Cheteshwar Pujara and were reeling at 3/64. The right-hander went on to bat throughout the day, stitching a crucial 50-run-stands with Hanuma Vihari and Rishabh Pant followed by an unbeaten 100-plus stand with all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja.
With critics already predicting India will suffer a total whitewash, Rahane’s imperative knock came at a crucial time to revive India’s luck much like how Laxman saved India’s blushes in Eden gardens in 2001
How VVS Laxman’s heroics saved India’s fate in the 2001 Eden test
In the first Test in Mumbai, Australia secured a thumping 10-wicket win to make it 16 consecutive wins. Heading into the second Test at the Eden Gardens, India were staring at a crisis. Waugh’s first hundred in India helped the team to 445 all out. The highlight for India was Harbhajan Singh, who became the first Indian bowler to take a hat-trick as he took 7/123.
India were bowled out for 171, with VVS Laxman, who was not supposed to play the match due to a back injury, making 59 as India trailed by 274 runs. In the second innings, they had reached 232/4 before Laxman, along with Rahul Dravid, stitched together a partnership that would change the course of not only the match, but also Indian cricket.
By stumps on Day 3, India had reached 254/4 with Laxman on 109 and Dravid on 7. However, things were about to change dramatically on Day 4.
Both Laxman and Dravid, with their backs to the wall, notched up one of the best partnerships as India turned the tables on Australia. Both counter-attacked and held firm as Australia wilted. By the end of the day, the duo had smashed 335 runs without being separated.
On Day 5, Laxman’s quest to become India’s first triple centurion was jolted as he fell for 281. This was then the highest individual score by an Indian batsman in Tests and it was also the third-highest by any batsman against Australia. The 376-run partnership for the fifth wicket was the third-best in Test history for that wicket. Dravid departed for 180 and India declared at 657/7, the third-highest third innings score by a team in Tests at that time.