India cricket recently celebrated the 19th anniversary of its miraculous heist against Australia at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata in the summer of 2001. Prior to that series, Steve Waugh had declared the Indian tour as the ‘final frontier’ for its mean-winning juggernaut which masqueraded as a Test match team.
And, just seven days into the Test series, it looked like everything was going as per plans for the Australians. They hammered the Men in Blue inside three days at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai before enforcing a follow-on at the Eden Gardens after bowling the hosts our for 171 in response to their first innings total of 445.
But, what followed thereafter was a turnaround of epic proportions as VVS Laxman (281) and Rahul Dravid (180) overcame physical and mental battles with aplomb to carve out a marathon 376-run-stand for the fifth wicket. Not a single wicket fell on the fourth day but according to ‘Turbanator’ Harbhajan Singh, he did not watch even a single ball of that epic partnership as none of the players moved from their position as the partnership began to prosper.
“I remember that during that entire partnership, all of us in the dressing room didn’t leave our seats. This was because we were losing wickets rapidly in the second innings too, even though Laxman was there at one end. Once their partnership started developing, we stuck to our seats. It was a decision taken by Sachin Tendulkar,” Harbhajan told the Times of India.
Harbhajan Singh opens up on the dressing room atmosphere in Kolkata Test
Harbhajan revealed that it was Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar‘s decision of sticking to the same seats after Laxman and Dravid batted for a session without losing a wicket.
“After they batted through a session, we told ourselves: ‘This is the first session in which no wicket has fallen, so let’s stick to the same seats.’ And that remained the pattern even the next day when they batted the whole day! I was sitting in my seat inside the dressing room for that entire day. I didn’t see a single ball,” Harbhajan reminisced.
India eventually went on to win the Test match on the final day as they bowled Australia out for 212, with Harbhajan once again spearheading the bowling unit by adding six wickets to his tally of seven in the first.
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