The veteran Indian spinner, Harbhajan Singh reckons that the 2001 Test series against Australia will be unforgettable as it was like a do or die kind of situation in his career. During an Instagram Live session with Ravichandran Ashwin, Harbhajan expressed his views about the 2001 Test series against Australia.
In the 2001 series against Australia, India won the series 2-1, despite losing the first Test in Mumbai. Harbhajan was named as the Player of the Series as he scalped 32 wickets. Recalling the same, he said, “It was a do or die kind of situation for me personally as I was out of the team, the Punjab Cricket Association also did not want me to play in Ranji Trophy, I also lost my dad, but in that series, both John Wright and Dada were looking for a spinner as Anil Bhai was injured.”
The 2001 Eden Gardens Test will always be considered as one of the greatest Test victories for India as the side went on to win the match after being asked to follow on.
Talking about the match, Harbhajan said: “In the second game at the Eden Gardens, I got a hat-trick in the first innings and got my first five-wicket haul, they were 280/8, we did not know that Gillespie could hang on with Steve Waugh. Coming to our batting in the first innings, no one was looking to stay the crease and we were not there. But the partnership between VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid in the second innings, it the best I have seen and it was incredible.”
In the Eden Gardens Test, India went on to win the match by 171 runs and became the third team in the history of Test cricket to win a match after being forced to follow-on. Australia had made 445 in their first innings, courtesy Steve Waugh’s brilliant hundred. However, it was Harbhajan’s show at Kolkata with his spectacular seven wickets, including the first hat-trick in India’s Test history.
In its first innings, India folded for 171 runs and was asked to follow-on by Australia. Following on, India was reduced to 232/4 then, Rahul Dravid joined VVS Laxman in the middle. The next 104 overs were a nightmare for the Aussies as the Indian duo stitched a 376-run stand to revive the innings and helped the team stage a dramatic comeback in the match. Laxman’s stunning innings also halted Australia’s record of 16 successive Test wins.