'It was God's Test match'- Sourav Ganguly reflects back on the historic 2001 Eden win against Australia

‘It was God’s Test match’- Sourav Ganguly reflects back on the historic 2001 Eden win against Australia

Ganguly’s side had famously beaten Steve Waugh’s invincible Australians in that match by 171 runs after being asked to follow on.

VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid
VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid. (© ARKO DATTA/AFP/Getty Images)

Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President Sourav Ganguly, who also happens to be India’s third most successful captain in Tests, has said that the historic win in the 2001 Test match at the Eden Gardens is not his favourite career moment.

Ganguly’s side had famously beaten Steve Waugh’s invincible Australians in that match by 171 runs after being asked to follow on, thanks to some immortal knocks played by VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid.

The 47-year-old said India’s incredible win in the Kolkata Test in his home town was so “unreal” that it could only have been designed by the Almighty himself. Speaking on the fifth episode of India Today Inspiration, the former captain said he “didn’t believe” India were in any position to win after they were asked to follow on by the visitors. Laxman and Dravid turned the tables around and India went on to win the match and then the next to bag the series 2-1, hence stopping the Australian juggernaut.

“128 for 8. I didn’t believe it either. A lot of people asked me which is your best Test. I named a lot of other Test matches. People get surprised and say ‘What about that?’. I say ‘that is God’s Test match’. That is not my Test match. 128 for 8 and we were 1-0 down in the series. Australia 400. Finished India. And then on Day 5, in the 10th mandatory over, you finish as a winning captain it felt unreal,” said Ganguly, who led India in 21 Tests, less only than Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Sourav Ganguly sat in one corner for the entire day

“I just sat in one corner for the entire day (during VVS Laxman-Rahul Dravid partnership). Behind the computer person, with a towel, I just prayed for Laxman and Dravid that they don’t get out and keep going. It was unbelievable. It was a one-off Test match. It was God’s Test match.”

Laxman and Dravid had put a mammoth partnership of 376 runs in the second innings and batted out an entire day of the match. “Only at Tea time on Day 5. I started believing we can win it. On the morning of Day 5, I knew we won’t lose it from there. At Tea time Day 5, when we got Steve Waugh caught at back-foot short-leg, we believed. We had 30 overs to get 6 wickets after we got Steve Waugh and we went past Australia,” added Sourav Ganguly.

India went on to win another thriller in Chennai next (by 2 wickets) to beat the powerful Australians in the Test series. Ganguly also said the Kolkata win was a hard-fought one on a surface that was not among the “rank turners” and the home team deserved a lot of credit. Spinner Harbhajan Singh’s hat-trick in the first innings of the match was another high point of the Indians’ quality performance in that match.

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