new Delhi. The 2001 Kolkata Test is one of the most exciting cricket matches not only in India but in the world. It is included in the selected 3 Test matches in the history of 145 years of cricket, when a team won even after playing follow-on. Team India did this miracle in Kolkata. Whenever this match is mentioned, the partnership of VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid is definitely remembered. But do you know that when Rahul Dravid was demoted from number 3 to 6 in this match, then what were the sarcasm made by Steve Waugh on him.
In Kissa Cricket Ka, in the series, we will tell you how Australian captain Steve Waugh welcomed Rahul Dravid when he came out to bat at number six in the Kolkata Test. But before that let us take a look at the match. When Steve Waugh’s team landed in Kolkata’s Eden Gardens, it had 16 consecutive victories in its name. Now Australia’s intention was to make a world record by winning the 17th consecutive Test. The visiting team also started in the style of champions and scored 445 runs in the first innings. After Australia’s batsmen, the bowlers also showed their mettle and bundled out India’s first innings for 171 runs. In this way India was forced to follow-on at home itself.
On the third day of the match, when the Indian team came out to play follow-on, openers Sadagopan Ramesh and Shivsunder Das gave India a good start. Both shared a 52-run partnership. When Ramesh was dismissed, Indian captain Sourav Ganguly surprised the opposition team by sending VVS Laxman at number three. VVS had scored 59 runs in the first innings. He was in full swing and that was the reason why he was promoted and replaced by Rahul Dravid. Everyone knows that Laxman took full advantage of this promotion and played an unmatched innings of 281 runs.
However, we were discussing Rahul Dravid’s playing at number six and Steve Waugh’s comment on him. Laxman was frozen at one end, but wickets kept falling from the other end. Sachin Tendulkar got out after scoring 10 and Sourav Ganguly scored 48 runs. Dravid’s turn came when Captain Ganguly was dismissed. Dravid had achieved the status of ‘wall’ due to his strong game till those days. In such a situation, getting him to bat at number six was not a less surprising decision. The infamous Australian team for sledding thought of taking advantage of this.
Steve Waugh played a mind game with a calm-tempered Rahul Dravid. He told Dravid, ‘You have just been shifted from number-3 to number six. See if you do not reach 12th in the next match. Rahul Dravid himself told this story of sledding in a program of Star Sports channel. “Definitely we were under pressure and Australia was trying to take advantage of it in every way,” Dravid said. When Irfan Pathan asked Dravid how it was different to bat at number six or was there any pressure in a different way while doing so. On this, Rahul said, ‘There was some nervousness. Because it was playing at number six after a long time. But in the end only one thing has to be done. Watch and play ball. After a while everything became normal.
Cricket lovers know that VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid had a partnership of 376 runs in that match. The pair came on the field on the third day and got out on the fifth day. On the fourth day, Australia used 9 bowlers, but the Laxman-Dravid pair proved to be unbreakable. On the last day of the match, India declared the innings by scoring 657 for 7 wickets. After this, Australia won the match by being bundled out for 212 runs in the fourth innings. With this, Steve Waugh’s pride and Australia’s Vijayarath were also broken.