Ashish Nehra names his pick for ‘performance of the decade’
Former Indian cricket team fast bowler Ashish Nehra picked teammate VVS Laxman’s 96-run knock against South Africa during the second Test in Durban in 2010 as the ‘performance of the decade’. The innings proved crucial for the visitors as they won the encounter by 87 runs to level three-match series 1-1. “I was torn between between VVS and Nathan Lyon’s 8 for 50 in Bengaluru. Lyon’s was a great performance because it came against Indians batting in India. Importantly, it was the first day of the Test match. Yes, there was a little moisture in the pitch, and because of that he was getting turn, but that was only for the first hour or 90 minutes. An Australian fingerspinner taking eight wickets is something spectacular,” Nehra wrote for ESPNCricinfo.
“However, in the end, I opted for VVS, because of the circumstances. When India reached Durban, they were behind in the series already. They had lost badly by an innings in Centurion in the first Test,” he added.
Nehra said that Australia spinner Nathan Lyon’s 8/50 against India in Bengaluru in 2017 was a close second but Laxman’s knock edged past it because of its importance and how difficult the conditions were.
“VVS’ innings was crucial: it was the reason India could set a formidable target of close to 300 for South Africa to chase. The Durban wicket was very tough to bat on, against a South African bowling attack that had Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, who were on top of their game at the time. Other than VVS, nobody barring Viru [Virender Sehwag] even touched 30.”
“Some might say VVS has played similar innings before. But that innings was very special. He batted along with the tail, including stitching a partnership of about 70 with Zak [Zaheer Khan]. And VVS was the last man to get out.”
“With that innings, not only did India win the Test and level the series, they also came close to winning a Test series in South Africa. They were denied because Jacques Kallis scored a century in each innings in the third Test.”
“VVS’ performance is one that comes easily to my mind if you are talking about great Test batting,” he concluded.