Sachin Tendulkar reveals interesting story about Rahul Dravid-VVS Laxman partnership in historic 2001 Test against Australia at Eden Gardens
The 2001 encounter between India and Australia at Eden Gardens is a regular when it comes to Top 10 Test matches list - both for experts and fans. The encounter, which had a number of great performances, saw India defeat Steve Waugh’s mighty Australian side after following on in the first innings. The hosts were all out for just 171 in reply to the visitors’ 445. Waugh enforced the follow-on and India were 232/4 but Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman stitched together a phenomenal 376-run stand that completely turned the tide in India’s favour and the hosts were able to clinch the win. India legend Sachin Tendulkar said that then Indian coach John Wright and Ganguly decided in 10 minutes when India were following on that Laxman will bat at three and Dravid will be at six.
“He was in good rhythm. Nobody moved in the dressing room when those two batted. Drinks, ice packs were all being prepared for them. It was a magical partnership and suddenly there was this hope that we could win if Bhajji and Zak (Zaheer Khan) bowl well,” said Tendulkar during the first Day-Night Test between India and Bangladesh.
Laxman scored 281 off 452 balls while Dravid made 180 off 353 as India declared their second innings on 657/7 and in reply, Harbhajan Singh took six wickets (including a hat-trick) to guide his team to victory. That was the momentum that India needed as they went on to win the series 2-1 after another victory in Bangalore.
During the Lunch break on Day 1 of the 2nd Test between India and Bangladesh in Kolkata, Tendulkar recalled the story of when the off-spinner bowled to him in the nets for the first time.
“When we went to Mohali for the first time. It was around in 1996. The locals were telling me that there is a youngster here who bowls really well. He bowls off-spin and also throws a good doosra. So I said call him and ask him to bowl to me in the nets. I would like to face him. I want to see how good he is and if he is that good, we will encourage him further. So Bhajji started bowling to me. While doing so, he continuously kept coming to me, saying “ji paaji”. So I kept saying ‘what, go back and bowl’. It happened too many times. I didn’t know the reason why Bhajji kept coming up to me,” Tendulkar said.
“After he got into the team, we started knowing each other, and he started opening up to me. So he said, ‘Paaji ek baat batani hai aapko’. I said ‘bata’. He said ‘When I was bowling to you in the nets for the first time, why were you calling me towards you?’. I asked ‘when was I calling you?’. Later I found out that the way I used to adjust my helmet, Bhajji used to think that I was calling him and he kept coming up to me,” he added.