The Indian team's series victory over Australia in 2001 is one of the greatest ever in the history of cricket. More so because India were behind 0-1 in the series when they came to Kolkata's Eden Gardens to play the second Test of the three-match series.
Winning the toss, Steve Waugh elected to bat first and led from the front with a century. Despite Harbhajan Singh's seven wickets, visitors were able to mount 445 runs on the scoreboard before they were bowled out. Facing the likes of Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie and Shane Warne, Indians fell like the deck of cards and were forced to follow on after a paltry 171-run first innings score.
In their second innings, they started off cautiously but had already lost four wickets for 232, still trailing by 42 runs when VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid began their record-breaking partnership. At the end of Day 3, India were at 254/4, still 20 runs behind Australia with 6 wickets in hand and Laxman, Dravid on the crease. Day 4, March 14, 2001, turned out to be one of the greatest days in Indian cricket when the two batting giants played all day and remained unbeaten at the stumps on Day 4 with India at 589/4.
Both Laxman and Dravid were eventually dismissed for 281 and 180, respectively, after adding 376 runs together. Thanks to their heroics, India declared at 657/7 and set a target of 384 runs for Australia to win the Test. The frustration of the Australia side can be gauged by the fact that Waugh tried nine bowlers that day.
Batting on the fifth day, Australia kept losing wickets at regular interval and India finally won the match by 171 runs, becoming only the third team to win a Test match after a follow on. Harbhajan picked up six wickets in the fourth innings, finishing the match with 13 wickets. The match is also memorable for Harbhajan Singh's hat-trick in the first innings.
Recorded as one of the greatest Test wins, the match and the series are said to have ushered in a dawn of a new era in Indian cricket. It was a relatively young team, playing under a 28-year-old captain with most of the team members still in their 20s. The victory also came on the heels of a betting scandal that had rocked Indian cricket just a year ago and had led to the ban of star Indian players like Mohammed Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja. The fact that it came against an Australian time that was considered unbeatable at the time made it only sweeter. Sourav Ganguly's men that day put an end to Steve Waugh's winning streak of 16 matches. They went on to win the third Test in Chennai and lift the Border-Gavaskar Trophy against the mighty Australians.