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‘Dravid and I were on drips’ – Laxman recalls physical ordeal during epic 2001 Test

Laxman 2001
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid‘s epic partnership in the 2001 Kolkata Test is part of cricketing folklore, but their challenge that day wasn’t just limited to blunting a top-class Australian attack.

In what is regarded as one of cricket’s biggest heists, Laxman and Dravid dug India out of a pit, helping them recover from a follow-on by building a massive 376-run partnership, battling together for 104 overs. Almost exactly 19 years later, Laxman has revealed that the two batsmen had to be put on drips after staying unbeaten on day four, thanks to the punishing humidity in Kolkata.

“I was battling back spasm and Rahul was cramping really bad. We motivated each other – one ball, one over, one hour. As it turned out, we batted the whole day,” Laxman told The Times of India, recalling the superlative effort in 2001.

“It was a Test match I wouldn’t have played but for our physio Andrew Leipus. When I walked into his room, I told Andrew, ‘my back is stiff’. He asked me to look into the mirror, and I saw my entire back or spine was tilted to the left.”

Following on after collapsing for 171 in response to Australia’s 445, Laxman and Dravid took India to 589/4 on day four. Laxman eventually fell for 281, and Dravid posted 180, as India ended up winning the game by 171 runs.

“They gave us a lot of boundary balls and we knew that because of the heat and humidity they were getting tired,” Laxman said. “And so were we. At the end of the day’s play, both of us were on drips.”

Only thrice in Test cricket’s history has a team won after being forced to follow on.

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