Mumbai: Eclipsing several other great individual knocks, V V S Laxman's masterly innings of 281 against Australia at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata has been rated as the greatest Test performance of the last 50 years.
The honour was accorded to the Hyderabad stylist's fabulous series-turning knock after India trailed by 274 runs on the first innings and were made to follow-on. A panel of 25 cricketers, broadcasters, writers and statisticians weighed up various memorable performances as part of the January edition of ESPNCricinfo's digital magazine Cricket Monthly
Writing for the magazine, noted cricket journalist Rahul Bhattacharya had this to say: "When India clinched dramatic victory on the final evening, it was the finest in their Test history, and Laxman's performance would live on ever longer. In the Indian context this was a cultural achievement, a work of sporting art that reflected the common desire of a diverse people. In cricket terms it is simply, according to our jury, the greatest Test performance of the past 50 years."
Laxman, promoted to no. 3 after his first innings' 59 out of a team score of 171, came up with his magical innings and also added 376 runs for the fifth wicket with Rahul Dravid (180).
In his tribute, one of seven by participants in the Test, leg spin legend Shane Warne recalls: "I was bowling in the footmarks and Laxman was hitting the same ball through cover or whipping it through midwicket. It was so hard to bowl then."
Ricky Ponting remembers that "his work through the leg side in particular was a source of wonderment to many of us...
Ultimately we bowled for near enough to two days at him without even looking like getting him out."
With PTI inputs
If you, like us, don't ever tire of watching VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid's finest day in Test cricket, here you go - relive it again.