Peter Roebuck waxed eloquently about the Indian victory over Australia in the First match in his article in Sydney Herald:
Emotions were pitched high. Elephants danced in stomachs as every ball was bowled and a roar greeted every pinched single. Laughter broke out as VVS Laxman, hitherto an iceman, starting waving his arms and berating his partner for lax running between wickets. One batsman was wrongly dispatched, another was amazingly reprieved and all the while the ground was agog. Four crucial overthrows were conceded by an alert fieldsman aware the batsman had strayed from his crease. Was it a risk worth taking? Steve Smith missed by a whisker. Sometimes the line between hero and villain, victory and defeat, is wafer thin.
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Ultimately the battle between scrapper and stylist, gritty and graceful, artisan and artist ended in favour of a vastly relieved home side. Regardless, it was a triumph for Test cricket. The thrill-a-minute versions of the game were put in their place by this slow-burning contest.
Some matches become unforgettable and some innings in those matches can never be forgotten. The Mohali match between India and Australia that ended on October 4 is one of those matches and innings.
In this match Laxman ended up scoring 73 runs from 79 balls with 8 fours and an 81 run partnership with Ishant Sharma. Worse he had a stiff neck and needed a runner. While the wickets fell from the other side – Tendulkar at 119, Dhoni at 122, Harbhajan Singh at 124; Laxman kept it going.
Some how Laxman has this knack of playing the big innings when it is most required. Specially when that other team is that of the Aussies. In March of 2001, when he scored 281 in the second innings at Eden Gardens while India was following on, to change the game and the series from there on – was one of his finest innings ever. That match India won by 171 runs.
Then the 2nd Test Match in Adelaide in December 2003, he scored 148 with Dravid scoring 233 in the first innings to help India win by 4 wickets. In January 2000, he had scored 167 runs in the second innings to help India fight back, although unsuccessfully.
Just last month, he helped India win in Colombo by scoring a century in the Second Innings to level series 1-1.
Media is all praise for his Innings. Telegraph says:
But it was Laxman’s performance which proved to be the game-changer as the 35-year-old fought his stiff back and the rampaging Australia bowlers to pull off a sensational victory.
His own captain Dhoni is all praise. Its quite another matter that Dhoni should have played a bit with the bat too. I am not sure what else he really plays with except keeping wickets.
“VVS is a remarkable batsman,” he said. “If he is at the crease, whatever the field you set, he can still score runs. He was injured in the first innings but the way he batted in the second, for me, was very special. It’s a very emotional victory. It was one of the best matches I have ever played in.”
On BBC, one reader left a wonderful tribute to Laxman saying:
VVS, take a bow, what an innings with a bad back. He couldn’t even stand properly, yet produces unbelievable batting when facing the Aussies
Question for the Readers:
Do you think VVS Laxman is India’s Best Batsman during a crisis?
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