Happy Birthday The Legendary VVS Laxman: The Man Who Halted Australia’s 16-Test Winning Streak
On November 1, we celebrate the birthday of one of India’s cricketing legends, VVS Laxman. Born in Hyderabad in 1974, Laxman hails from a family of highly educated individuals, with both his parents being doctors. He was not only a proficient cricketer but also excelled in his studies, initially pursuing a career in medicine before choosing the path of a cricketer.
Laxman, often referred to as “Very Very Special,” is not only a celebrated cricketer but also holds a significant connection to India’s political history as the nephew of Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, the second President of India. Despite his illustrious cricketing career, Laxman missed the opportunity to represent India in the World Cup. Let’s take a closer look at the life and career of this remarkable batsman.
A Dazzling Career:
VVS Laxman’s journey in the world of cricket began in 1996 when he made his Test debut for India, followed by his ODI debut in 1998. His last international match, a Test against Australia in their own backyard, took place in 2012. Laxman’s name became synonymous with being a reliable middle-order batsman, following in the footsteps of his contemporary, Rahul Dravid. His contributions with the bat, especially in Test cricket, have left an indelible mark in the history of Indian cricket.
In 134 Test matches, Laxman amassed 8,781 runs at an impressive average of 45.97, which included 17 centuries. In the 86 ODIs he played, he scored 2,338 runs with 6 centuries, showcasing his versatility in the longer and shorter formats of the game. Moreover, his first-class cricket record boasts an astonishing 55 centuries, underlining his exceptional talent as a batsman.
The Eden Gardens Miracle:
One of the most iconic moments in VVS Laxman’s career came on March 11, 2001, at the hallowed grounds of Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Australia, led by captain Steve Waugh, had won 16 consecutive Test matches, and they seemed poised to extend that streak. After Australia posted a formidable 445 runs in the first innings, India found themselves struggling at 171.
Even in India’s first innings, Laxman was the standout performer, contributing 59 runs with 12 boundaries. With the intent to crush India’s hopes, Steve Waugh enforced the follow-on, holding a massive lead of 274 runs. At 115 for 3 in the second innings, India still trailed by 169 runs, and the prospect of defeat loomed large.
The Turning Point:
It was in this dire situation that VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid formed a partnership that would go down in history. Over the course of 90 grueling overs on the fourth day, they withstood the Australian attack, not giving away a single wicket. Laxman, in a herculean effort, scored 281 runs from 452 deliveries, including 44 boundaries. Rahul Dravid, his partner in this epic stand, contributed 180 runs from 353 balls with 20 fours.
India eventually declared their innings at 657 for 7 wickets. Australia, chasing a target of 384, was dismissed for just 212 runs, and India secured a remarkable victory by 171 runs. Harbhajan Singh played a pivotal role, taking 13 wickets in the match, but it was VVS Laxman who was rightfully awarded the Man of the Match title.
VVS Laxman’s marathon innings at Eden Gardens not only secured a historic win for India but also halted Australia’s incredible 16-Test winning streak. This victory was a turning point in Indian cricket and showcased the resilience, determination, and skill of one of India’s most cherished cricketers. On his birthday, we salute VVS Laxman, a cricketing legend, and a man whose name will forever be synonymous with the term “Very Very Special.”