The 2001 Test between India and Australia played at Eden Gardens, Kolkata is remembered as one of the greatest comeback games in the history of cricket. India had managed to win the second Test in the series against a formidable Australian side thanks to a massive batting partnership between VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid and Harbhajan Singh’s 13-wicket haul.
Australian legend Shane Warne, who was one of the spinners in the Test recently went on record by saying that a crucial decision might have cost them the match.
During his commentary stint with Sky Sports for the England-Pakistan Test series, Warne said that Australia captain Steve Waugh’s decision to send India to bat again was a wrong call and had made the difference in the result.
“It’s completely different conditions,” said Warne adding that it was 45 degrees and they had been out on the field for a long time. According to him, the wicket was going to get worse. He then recalled how Waugh asked the bowlers how they were feeling and Michael Kasprowicz had said, “‘Let’s go, skip, I’m ready to go!’”
He added that Waugh was adamant to get the record number (17) of wins. “To me, it was the only way India could win that Test match. So, yeah. I thought he got that wrong,” Warne said.
Waugh’s side were unbeaten in 16 Tests when they batted first in Kolkata. India were all out at 177, with Australia having a lead of 274 runs. This is when the Australian skipper decided to enforce a follow-on. But their plans faltered as Laxman and Dravid got going. Both batsmen shared a 376-run partnership with Laxman making 281 and Dravid scoring 180. India captain Sourav Ganguly declared at 657 for 7 and chasing a total of 384 for victory, the Aussies were bowled out for 212 with Harbhajan picking six wickets to go with the seven in the first innings.