Mohali: A heroic 73-run innings by VVS Laxman helped India rise from the rubble and pull off a dramatic 1-wicket victory over Australia in the first Test here at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium on Tuesday.
From a point where India once stood at 124/8 and all hopes for a win seemed to be fading away, an ailing Laxman displayed a never-say-die spirit and continued to wage a lonely battle. And despite being troubled with a back spasm, not for once did he flinch and guided his team to a super-thrilling, nerve-wrecking victory.
The second innings for India indeed started on a disastrous note. After losing the fabled top order, that is, Gautam Gambhir (0), Virender Sehwag (17), Rahul Dravid (13) and Suresh Raina (0), dramatically on the penultimate day, India’s miseries continued to follow them on the final day as well.
Resuming the game on Tuesday at 55/4, India met with a similar fate as on Monday. They lost the priced wickets of Sachin Tendulkar (38), skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (2), Zaheer Khan (10) and Harbhajan Singh (2) before lunch in the first session of the day as all smiles faded from the spectators’ faces.
But it was Laxman and Ishant Sharma who continued to hold fort and kept on pressing for a win. By the time the teams went for their lunch break, India had already posted a decent score of 162/8, which meant that they were just 54 runs short of the target.
While just 54 more runs in the post lunch session seemed achievable, it was the number of wickets India had already lost that gave the team some jitters and Australia a reason to smile.
However, with just two wickets in hand, the gritty duo of Laxman and Ishant resumed the game in the after-lunch segment. Playing with a runner, Laxman also went on to slam his 46th Test fifty.
Indian supporters had their fingers crossed as the duo slowly and steadily moved towards victory. But, all did not go as smooth for team as Ishant lost his wicket as a result of a wrong LBW decision by umpire Ian Gould.
The dismissal was just a hiccup for Laxman as he pulled himself back to hit his final shot and took India to a thrilling 1-wicket victory.
Zaheer Khan was awarded the Man-of-the-Match award for his 8-wicket haul.