Laxman leads India to thrilling victory
MOHALI – Vangipurappu Laxman revived his role as Australia’s chief tormentor with a magnificent unbeaten 73 to script India’s unlikely one-wicket victory on the final afternoon of the first Test.
Resuming on 55 for four and chasing a victory target of 216, India appeared dead and buried in the last hour before lunch but an 81-run ninth-wicket stand between Laxman and Ishant Sharma set up the opening win of a two-Test series.
The hosts had lost a flurry of wickets to slip to 124 for eight but Sharma contributed 31 valuable runs in his partnership with Laxman, who was batting with a runner due to a bad back, before the hosts scrambled over the finish line in a frantic climax.
“One of the best, one of the most exciting Test matches I have played, and I have played some 150 now,” Australia captain Ricky Ponting said in the post-match presentation ceremony.
“The Ishant-Laxman partnership was outstanding, it made the difference,” he added.
When play began, India needed 161 runs to win while Australia required six wickets in an absorbing Test but the ever-reliable Laxman kept his head as wickets tumbled, managing the tail to perfection in denying Ponting a first win in India as skipper.
Yesterday’s innings adds to Laxman’s reputation as a thorn in Australia’s side with all but one of his five 150 plus scores coming against them, including a 281 in Kolkata nine years ago that led a following-on India to a stunning win. (Reuters)