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Watch: How a bouncer from McGrath changed VVS Laxman and his career

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

VVS Laxman was one of the few batters who had a tremendous record against Australia in Test cricket. His ability to bounce back against the mightiest and his never-say-die attitude made him a great in the format.

This temperament was evident even before he had established himself in the team as he remained unfazed after being hit on the helmet by a 130kph bouncer bowled by Glenn McGrath that clearly stunned the player in just his 17th Test match back in 1999.

He sent the very next delivery – a half volley by McGrath – through the covers for a majestic four.

This was just the momentum that Laxman needed as he raced away to his maiden hundred in what was the third Test in Sydney. The Indians had already lost the series and were en route a bashing in the third game as well, as they managed 150 in the first innings. In reply, the Aussies put up a massive 552 for 5 on the board, with no one giving the visitors a chance.

“I would be lying if I said I wasn’t shaken up, but since my childhood, I had always scored heavily when in physical discomfort. McGrath followed up that bouncer with a half-volley that I put away for four, and I was up and running,” he mentioned in his autobiography ‘281 and Beyond’.

Despite being hit on the helmet, he overcame the pain and ended with a fine 167 with India getting dismissed for 261.

Though the Indians lost the game, it began the widely known love affair between Laxman and the Australians.

Watch the moment here:

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