(Last Updated on : 27/01/2015)
The Test series held between the two giant cricket playing nations like India and Australia in the year of 2001 is always considered as one of the most highly contested and best bilateral series in the history of World cricket. The Australians came to India on a tour in that year with a view to make a world record for most consecutive wins in Tests. They were unbeaten in 16 matches, before coming to India. It was not a good time for the Indian Team under the leadership of Saurav Ganguly. Nobody could hope a good result from India in the series in front of the formidable Australians. However, the Indians once again proved their mental toughness to overcome all the difficulties and eventually won the three-Test series by 2-1, in spite of losing the first Test, miserably.
The test series between India and Australia started just in the way that everyone thought and the Australian team just destroyed the Indian team in the first Test at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, within a little over three days. The confident Australian team then met the Indians for the second Test at Eden Gardens in Kolkata and the result of the Test match still appears to be unbelievable to lot of people. The Australians scored a mammoth total in their first innings to put on a huge pressure on India and while batting in their first innings, the Indian team failed to bat well and they got all out, with a few runs still needed to avoid follow-on.
The decision of the Australian captain, Steve Waugh's inviting the Indian team to follow on in their second innings, is still considered to be one of the most costly mistakes committed by any cricket captain so far. The Indian batsmen, following on in the second innings, made an unbelievable come back and the two legendary batsmen like VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid were the stars for this come back. They made a huge partnership for rescuing the Indian batting and Laxman's extraordinary innings of 281 runs in the innings, remained the highest individual score for any Indian in Tests, for long. Rahul Dravid also played a wonderful innings of 180 runs and they made the Australians' path to victory tougher.
While batting in their second innings, the Australian batsmen faced a much more confident and encouraged bowling line up of India, led by the magical off-spinner, Harbhajan Singh. Harbhajan and the other Indian bowlers forced the Australian batsmen to make mistakes in their batting and a magical spell of five over by Sachin Tendulkar, also made the task of the Aussies, even tougher. Tendulkar took three important Australian wickets in that small spell and that caused a lot of damages in the Australian batting line up. However, the best bowler for India in the match was undoubtedly Harbhajan Singh, who got a match statistics of 13/196, including a Hat-trick in the last day. The Test was one of those very rare kinds of matches in the history of world cricket, where a team won the match after being forced to follow on in the second innings.
Buoyed by their historical performances to win the second Test in Kolkata, the Indian players started playing the third Test of the series in Chennai, with a more positive attitude . The Indians showed a great example of team spirit and team game in the third Test and it was mainly because of this, that the Australians did not find any answer to the Indians in the Test match. The Indians won the third Test also and thus ensured the memorable series win by 2-1. The series is labelled to be the best ever series for India, considering the high amount of competition and excellence that the Indian players exhibited on the field in that series.