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VVS Laxman: India's eternal saviour

Last updated on: November 10, 2010 09:16 IST

51 vs South Africa, Ahmedabad (1996-97)

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India managed to save the 1st Test vs New Zealand at Motera thanks to gritty performances by VVS Laxman and Harbhajan Singh.

While it was a new experience for Harbhajan, it was more like a routine job for Laxman, who India's crisis man. Beginning with his Test debut, Laxman has saved India from humiliating defeats on numerous occasions. Rajneesh Gupta features some of Laxman's match-saving performances.

On debut, Laxman played an important role in India's 64-run win.

Batting first India made 223 and South Africa replied with 244. India were 91 for five in the second innings with all top-order batsmen back in the pavilion.

Laxman then forged useful partnerships with Sunil Joshi and Anil Kumble and India managed to reach 190. Javagal Srinath then ran through the South African batting line-up, bowling them out for 105.

Had Laxman not played such an important knock, even Srinath's heroics would not have been enough.

Compiled by: Rajneesh Gupta


Image: VVS Laxman

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59 and 281 vs Australia, Kolkata (2000-01)

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This match will always be remembered for Laxman's heroics. Though there were other performers for India as well, everything else fades away in comparison to Laxman's epic performance.

Batting first, Australia made 445. India were bowled out for a paltry 171, with only Laxman making a substantial contribution. He was the last batsman to be dismissed in India's first innings.

Australia captain Steve Waugh enforced the follow-on after registering a lead of 274 runs. Laxman was promoted to No 3 in the batting order, after Sadagopan Ramesh's wicket. SS Das, Tendulkar and Ganguly followed soon and India hadn't even erased the first innings deficit. Dravid then joined Laxman and the rest is history.

The duo added 376 runs for the fifth wicket. Laxman was finally dismissed for 281 -- then the highest score by an Indian in Test cricket -- and India finished with a mammoth 657-7.

Harbhajan Singh then took a hat-trick and India registered a memorable win. It was only the third occasion of a side winning a Test after following-on.


Image: VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid

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66 vs Australia, Chennai (2000-01)

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Another splendid innings from Laxman.

Wickets were tumbling all around him. But the Hyderabadi hero was not the one to give up. His 66 was the backbone of India's successful chase of 155 that gave the hosts a 2-1 series win over Australia.


Image: VVS Laxman

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74 vs West Indies, Port-of-Spain (2001-02)

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India were reeling in the second innings at 56 for four, when Laxman joined Ganguly and they put on a 149-run stand for the fifth wicket.

Another collapse saw India lose their last 5 wickets for 13 runs, but West Indies -- chasing a victory target of 313 -- were bowled out for 275, giving India their first win in the Caribbean since 1975-76.


Image: VVS Laxman

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154 not out vs West Indies, Kolkata (2002-03)

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India made 358 in their first innings and West Indies replied with 497, thus gaining a first innings lead of 139. In second innings, India were 4 down for 87 when Laxman joined Sachin Tendulkar.

Both batsmen remained unbeaten at the end of fourth day, but India were only 56 runs ahead with one full day's play remaining.

The Sachin-Laxman partnership of 214 runs was finally ended soon after lunch on the fifth day. But Laxman forged useful partnerships with the tailenders to erase any hopes of West Indies wrapping up the Indian innings and chase a humble target for a win.

Laxman remained unbeaten on 154 and helped India reaching 471 for 8, as the match ended in a draw.


Image: VVS Laxman

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104 not out and 67 not out, vs New Zealand, Mohali (2003-04)

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Laxman saved India from a certain defeat. After India were forced to follow-on despite Laxman's ton, he spent more than three hours at the crease to score just 67 runs to earn a draw.

Image: VVS Laxman

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69 vs Australia, Mumbai (2004-05)

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On a wicket tailor-made for Indian spinners, India were bowled out for a paltry 104 runs in just over three hours. Australia gained a first innings lead of 99 runs.

India had another disastrous start in the second innings with just 14 runs on the board and both openers back in the pavilion. Laxman was joined by Sachin Tendulkar, with whom he added 91 runs for the third wicket. Laxman stitched another good partnership with Dravid.

The Hyderabadi was the top-scorer in India's total of 205. Australia were then bundled out for 93 chasing 107 for victory.


Image: VVS Laxman

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124 not out vs New Zealand, Napier (2008-09)

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The great escape!

At the end of the third day of the Test, India were in the doldrums. They were forced to follow-on after conceding a 314-run lead and Virender Sehwag was already back in the pavilion.

With two days to go, it was an uphill task to save the Test from here on. India succeeded in doing so, thanks to Gautam Gambhir, who batted for more than one hour on the third day, full fourth day and more than three hours on fifth day.

Laxman, as elegant as ever, held fort at other end and negotiated the new ball with assuring ease. He remained unbeaten on 124 during his 269-minutes stay at wicket and took India to position of safety.


Image: VVS Laxman

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56 and 103 not out vs Sri Lanka, Colombo PSS (2010)

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What an occasion for scoring his maiden ton on Sri Lankan soil.

After Sachin Tendulkar's departure, it was left to Laxman to guide his side to a challenging target of 257, and he did it in style. In the process, he became only the fourth Indian to score a hundred in the fourth innings of a Test in a winning cause.


Image: VVS Laxman

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73 not out vs Australia, Mohali (2010-11)

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Laxman and last man Pragyan Ojha gave India a thrilling one-wicket win after India were 124-8 chasing a fourth innings target of 216.

Laxman with 73 not out off 79 balls was the top-scorer in an innings where the second highest was only 38.


Image: VVS Laxman

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