'VVS is in the top bracket'
Former Indian cricketers lavished praise on senior batsman VVS Laxman for showing "exemplary" grit and determination while leading India to a thrilling one-wicket win over Australia in the first Test despite battling back spasms.
Laxman's fighting unbeaten knock of 73 laid the foundation for India's nail-biting win and former players felt the stylish batsman lived up to his reputation of being the team's saviour in crunch situations.
Former captain Sourav Ganguly said Laxman once again proved himself to be a class apart.
"When you talk about ability as a player, looking at that point VVS is in the top bracket and one of the best players in the world. He has still got a couple of years of Test cricket left and he will keep on winning matches for India," Ganguly said.
Ganguly also said that thrilling matches like these will help revive crowds' interest in Test cricket.
"The Indian cricket team is one of the biggest advertisements of Test cricket or any form of cricket at the present moment. This is going to bring back people to the Test matches, you will see a lot of people come to the Bangalore Test match which is good for the game," he said.
Image: VVS Laxman
Laxman kept his cool till the end
Chief Selector Kris Srikkanth and former wicketkeeper-batsman Farookh Engineer saluted the 35-year-old Laxman for battling pain and steering India to a win.
"What Laxman did was brilliant. He was scoring more than a run a ball at one stage and because he was doing so, the pressure was on the Australians. It was a great partnership between Laxman and Ishant Sharma.
"I am proud to be an Indian, it was an absolutely fantastic finish. Laxman kept his cool till the end. It was a great, great win for India," he said.
Former chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar also praised the pacer Ishant Sharma for hanging in there with Laxman to notch up the win for India.
"The partnership helped India win the Test. It was a show of good temperament and the partnership was very important at a very crucial stage of the game," he said.
"It was a marvellous innings from Laxman considering that he was batting with a back spasm. He had to get those runs since he does not know what the other end would do. So under adverse circumstances he scored 73 to take India to victory speaks volumes of his mental toughness, approach and gameplan," he added.
Image: VVS Laxman
Ishant showed great guts and determination
While Lalchand Rajput said Laxman has made it a habit to get India out of "impossible situations".
"It was a great innings by Laxman. Whenever he plays well India tends to win. He has done it in similar situations against Australia in Kolkata where he led us to victory from an impossible situation and even during the country's last win against Sri Lanka where he got a hundred," he said.
"He doesn't get a lot of prominence in the media. Despite having played 114 Tests he keeps a low profile. Whenever a new player has to be accommodated, his is the first name to be discussed among those who should be dropped. He has sent a message through his innings that he is still one of India's best batsman today.
"To have a partnership of more than 80 for the ninth wicket is just incredible. Ishant showed us what he is capable of. He showed great guts and determination," he added.
Image: Ishant Sharma
'He showed what experience is all about'
Former wicketkeeper-batsman Syed Kirmani echoed Rajput's views.
"He showed what experience is all about. People continue to criticise experienced players. So many things have been written about Dravid, Laxman. Laxman overcame all his ailments to play a fabulous knock. It should be said 'Laxman thrashes Australia'. Credit for the win should go to him," he said.
"The partnership was all about instinct, attitude and approach. Ishant too showed what he is capable of," he added.
Former captain MAK Pataudi said the Aussies were unlucky to get a couple of bad umpiring decisions.
"To be absolutely fair, Australia also got one or two bad umpiring decisions and I think ojha was very lucky to get away with it also. Umpiring mistakes do happen but they even out in the end," he said.
Rajput and Kirmani also agreed that umpiring could have been better. "Umpiring has been atrocious. You can't take things for granted however experienced you may be," Rajput said.
"Very very poor umpiring. Gambhir, Hussey and Ishant got terrible decisions.. Pragyan Ojha got a reprieve. Irrespective of the pressure situation, there were too many glaring mistakes. When technology is available, one should use it," added Kirmani.
Image: VVS Laxman
Family proud of Laxman's achievements
Meanwhile, Laxman's family members in Hyderabad were in a jubilant mood after the stylish batsman led India to the thrilling win.
"I am extremely happy. I think it was a great occasion to serve the motherland," Laxman's father V Shantaram said.
Laxman's wife Sailaja said she is proud of the achievement of her husband.
"I am very happy. I am proud of his (Laxman) achievement," she said.
Hyderabad Cricket Association president Arshad Ayub, honorary secretary D S Chalapathi and Honorary vice-president of BCCI/HCA N Shivlal Yadav and the Executive Committee Members of HCA congratulated the Indian team on their "historic test victory over Australia."
"It is a special moment for Hyderabad as our own players were instrumental in this magnificent and stupendous victory. It has made all the Hyderabadis very proud and the victory could not have come at a better time when Hyderabad is gearing up to host a Test match after two-and-half decades," the HCA said in a release.
Image: VVS Laxman