VVS Laxman Turns 45: The Ex-Indian Batsman's Top 4 Test Innings
Former Indian batsman VVS Laxman turns 45 today. He is fondly known as 'Very Very Special Laxman' for his numerous match-winning and match-saving innings in Test cricket, with the support of non-specialist tail-end batsmen.
Laxman scored 8,781 runs in 134 Tests. Most of his runs came at number five or six while batting with tailenders. He also has a higher amount of unbeaten innings, compared to the other three of Team India's 'Fab Four'- Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly.
Let us have a look at the ex-Indian batsman's top 4 Test innings -
4. 79 vs Australia at Perth, January 16-19, 2008
In the aftermath of the controversial Sydney Test, the focus was more on issues off the field. Going into the second innings of the Perth Test, India had a lead of 118 runs. However, India’s charge was a stop-start affair with too many wickets falling. Laxman walked at 125 for five. He kept stitching important partnerships that frustrated Australia and took India’s overall lead in the match well past 400. Laxman put up 59 runs along with the last three wickets and his contribution made a massive difference as India won the game by 72 runs.
3. 148 vs Australia at Adelaide, December 12-16, 2003
Australia’s nemesis was back in business. Having put up 556 on the board after batting first, Australia seemed to have the upper hand. India were reduced to 85 for 4 at one stage of their innings in reply. India's No.3 Rahul Dravid was joined by VVS Laxman and they started to battle with the Australian bowlers and calmly got the scoreboard ticking a la Kolkata 2001. Laxman was dismissed for 148 eventually but guided India to a position of relative safety, as they trailed Australia by just 33 runs in the first innings. India chased down their final target of 230 with ease.
2. 73 not out vs Australia at Mohali, October 1-5, 2010
Chasing 216 to win, India lost wickets at regular intervals to be reduced to 124 for 8 – with Laxman being as good as the last man standing. Laxman batted at No 10 in the first innings due to a back problem which also continued to bother him on the big day in the second innings as well. Fast bowler Ishant Sharma was just the partner Laxman needed as the former was stoic in his defence. More drama followed as Ishant fell with India 11 runs short of the target. Pragyan Ojha held on as India clinched a dramatic one-wicket win.
1. 281 vs Australia at Kolkata, March 11-15, 2001
This was a knock that defined the word grit and put Laxman’s name into the annals of cricketing history for eternity. His 281 was a career-defining knock that made the world stand up and take notice of this fantastic talent with subtle wrists and changed the face of Indian cricket in the early 2000s. The mighty Australians enforced the follow-on after being 274 runs ahead in the first innings. The wristy Hyderabadi walked in at No 3 in the second innings and delivered a gladiator-like performance at the Eden Gardens. Rahul Dravid and he put on a mammoth 376-run stand that took India past 600. India declared on the final day and bowled out Australia to win the game by 171 runs.