On this day in 2001, VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid batted the full day to help India record an epic win


vvs laxman and dravid

On March 14, 2001, VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid batted the entire day and stitched an epic partnership that changed the very dynamics of Indian cricket and laid the foundation for one of India’s greatest Test wins in the Kolkata Test against Australia.

In 2001, under the leadership of Steve Waugh, Australia arrived in India on the back of 15 consecutive Test victories. Indian cricket at that time was going through a turbulent time. The match-fixing scandal had shaken the faith of the fans while India was struggling to win both at home and away.

The Australian team boasting of match-winners such as Matthew Hayden, Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist, Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie and Shane Warne were all in top form.


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 in tremendous crisis. Waugh’s first hundred in India helped the team post a total of 445 in the first innings. Harbhajan Singh was the only positive for the team in the first innings, as he became the first Indian bowler to claim a Test hat-trick ending the innings with figures of 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.


The important factor to note was that Laxman was promoted to No.3 in the second innings while Dravid was pushed down to No.6 in the batting order. 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 notched up one of their finest partnerships as India turned the tables on Australia. The duo counter-attacked and held firm as Australia wilted. By the end of the day, the duo had smashed 335 runs without being separated. Laxman went past Sunil Gavaskar’s record of being the highest individual scorer for India in Tests, while Dravid notched up his first ton against Australia. With both batsmen suffering from cramps, India had ended Day 4 on 589/4 and the pressure was on Australia.

On Day 5, Laxman’s quest to become India’s first triple centurion was dented as he was dismissed for 281. he 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 as India declared at 657/7, the third-highest third innings score by a team in Tests at that time.

Set a target of 384, Harbhajan picked 6/73 as Australia were bundled out for 212 to hand India victory by 171 runs and level the series. The Kolkata victory ended Australia’s 16-match winning streak while this Test was only the third instance in history when a team had won a match after following on.

The 281-run knock from VVS Laxman and 180-run knock from Rahul Dravid and the 376-run partnership between the duo which they stitched on March 14, 2001, will always be remembered.