Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh was part of the side that defeated Australia in a memorable Border-Gavaskar Test series of 2001. The spin wizard scalped 32 wickets in three matches and was an instrumental figure in halting Australia’s 16-match winning streak during the course of the series. While the series win is remembered as one of India’s finest, the second Test held at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata is widely considered as one of the greatest matches ever played in sporting history.
India won the second Test (March 11-15, 2001) in Kolkata by 171 runs. The win is considered a memorable one because it was only the third instance in Test history where a team won in spite of following on. The match also witnessed an end to Australia’s 16-match domination and some Test cricket excellence from VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid and Harbhajan Singh.
In the match, India conceded a 274-run first-innings lead and were asked to bat again by Australian captain Steve Waugh. However, an epic 376-run partnership between VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid defied the Australian attack throughout India’s second innings. While writing for a leading Indian daily, Harbhajan Singh recently revealed that he missed out witnessing the partnership as the players in the balcony were instructed by Sachin Tendulkar to not move from their positions. He added that Sachin Tendulkar made them sit on the same position throughout the day-and-a-half duration of their epic marathon stand. Harbhajan Singh also revealed that since he was sitting inside the dressing room, he did not see a single ball and only got up to clap upon VVS Laxman reaching his hundred.
The 376-run stand between VVS Laxman (281) and Rahul Dravid (180) took India to 657-7. While Australia were left with a target of 384 runs for victory, they folded for just 212 on the final day. Harbhajan Singh himself was the wrecker-in-chief with the ball as he picked up figures of 7-123 and 6-73 in the match. While the Sourav Ganguly-led side won the second Test to level the series at 1-1, they also won the thrilling affair in Chennai a week later to claim the series 2-1.