Former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly recalled India’s memorable victory over Australia at Eden Gardens in Kolkata, where the hosts staged one of the greatest comebacks in Indian cricket history, as the teams finally took the field for the much anticipated four-match Test series.
After winning the first Test in Mumbai by a score of 10 wickets, the powerful Australians had already taken a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. The visitors also controlled the opening two days of the Kolkata Test by forcing India to follow-on and building a large 274-run lead in the first innings. Following that, what India performed was included in the list of cricket’s greatest comebacks.
“The greatest partnership in the annals of cricket… We didn’t lose any wickets and amassed 335 runs on the fourth day. After the final play of the day, Rahul and VVS went back to the dressing room and got drips. After battling through the entire day, they lost a lot of fluid. Rahul and VVS, however, were unaffected by fatigue. For the Bengali newspaper Sangbad Pratidin, Ganguly reported that “they kept fighting.”
India achieved a massive total of 657 runs for 7 wickets in their second innings after being bowled out for 171 in the first, setting the visitors a target of 384 runs to pursue. The astounding 376-run partnership for the fifth wicket between VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid was the focal point of the whole Indian innings. VVS played a lengthy inning, scoring 281 runs off 452 pitches, while Dravid scored 180 runs off 353 balls.
Australia, too? They were in shock at what India was doing to them. The Eden Gardens blew up when Harbhajan LBW-trapped Glenn McGrath. That emotional display was contagious. It gave Indian cricket a fresh lease on life. Our team had accomplished something exceptional that had not yet been duplicated. We showed that Australia can be defeated,” added Ganguly.
In the fourth innings, Harbhajan Singh was the mainstay of the Indian bowling unit, collecting six wickets while giving up 73 runs. India bowled Australia out for 212 runs, winning the first Test match by a margin of 171 runs. After winning the Chennai Test by two wickets, the Men in Blue went on to win the series by a score of 2-1.
With great optimism, we travelled to Chennai to play the last Test: sourav Ganguly
We had a lot of confidence as we travelled to Chennai to play the final Test. But we were aware that Australia would be at its most formidable there. The world has seen what happens when we play at our best, so I instructed the players to play their best cricket. The best cricket Matthew Hayden had ever played was being played. It was crucial to send him on his way quickly. But the most important thing was to bat well and apply pressure. As a result, we prevailed 2-1 in the series, said Ganguly.
The 2001 series, according to the former BCCI president, was the best series of his life and helped him develop as a leader. Without a question, that 2001 series was the best of my life. That triumph helped me develop as a leader. The team had the mindset that they could triumph in any circumstance, wherever in the world, according to Ganguly.
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