We are tracing 16 years back to 2001 when team India, under Sourav Ganguly’s leadership, played arguably the most unforgettable match in Indian cricket history. Oh yes, it was the second Test of the series and India were already trailing 0-1. Come Eden Gardens, the second Test and for Sourav Ganguly, it was a homecoming. But he had his task cut out, India had to level the series at Eden Gardens to avoid a bigger hole.
The Australians had won the toss and without an iota of doubt, they took the first strike at batting. It was a star-studded Australian team. The visitors batted well to post a mammoth 445; Steve Waugh was the highest run-getter with a fantastic 110. A very young Harbhajan picked up seven wickets—he was just looking to get a foothold in the international cricket.
India comes out to bat and bats disastrously to get folded for a paltry 171. Laxman, who was batting at number 6, was the pick of the Indian batsman getting a mere half century, 59. All the other Indian batsman fell like a pack of cards in the hands of a disciplined McGrath and the flamboyant Warne. McGrath bagged four and Australia enforced the follow-on.
India was already looking down the barrel trailing by 273. Then starts the second innings and India lose their openers at 52, paving way for the hero of the first innings, VVS Laxman. He was promoted up the order. That decision turned out to be a masterstroke call from captain Sourav Ganguly. Laxman was later joined by Rahul Dravid who came in at number 6. Both of them got together and batted for nearly two days, to see India post 657 for 7 before asking Australia to bat for just two sessions on the final day.
#OnThisDay in 2001 @VVSLaxman281 + Rahul Dravid batted all day to get India from 254/4 to 589/4 v Aus in Kolkata in a historic Test comeback pic.twitter.com/511DNg6x1N
— ICC (@ICC) March 14, 2017
Australia needed a mere 250 odd runs for victory, but then what transpired after that was nothing short of an epic turnaround. Harbhajan Singh repeated his performance from the first innings to pick up eight wickets, which included the famous hat-trick, as well.