When Laxman’s 281 halted Australia’s streak
Indian cricket was going through a turbulent time at the start of the 21st century. The match-fixing scandal had shaken the faith of the fans while India were struggling to win both at home and away. Amidst all these problems, in 2001, Australia under the captaincy of Steve Waugh arrived in India on the back of 15 consecutive Test victories. 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. 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.