In arguably the greatest fightback in Test history, India had sealed a historic 171-run win over Australia, becoming only the third side in Test history to win after being forced to follow on, on this day in 2001. A rampaging Australia under Steve Waugh headed to Kolkata for the second Test having thrashed India by 10 wickets in the first match in Mumbai. Between August 1999 and February 2001, Australia won 16 straight Tests, and before this series they beat India 3-0 on home soil in the summer of 1999-2000.
But at Eden Gardens, something surreal happened.
Australia had scored 445 in their first innings on the back of captain Steve Waugh’s 110 and 97 from Matthew Hayden, however it was Harbhajan Singh who stole the show, claiming 7/123 including the first hat-trick in India’s Test history.
Australia continued their surge despite Harbhajan’s heroics, bundling out the home side for 171 in reply, with Glenn McGrath taking 4/18.
Waugh’s men looked good to be marching to a 17th straight Test win after enforcing the follow-on. India were reduced to 3/115 and then 4/232 in their second innings – still trailing by 42 with just six wickets in hand when VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid joined hands.
The pair famously shared a 376-run stand for the fifth wicket, and put their team 334 runs in front.
VVS Laxman scored a career-best 281, while Dravid added 180.
Set an improbable 384 to win in little more than two sessions on day five, Australia were outfoxed by Harbhajan, who added six wickets to his seven from the first dig and rounded out one of Test cricket’s most famous victories.