Mohali, Oct 5: V V S Laxman battled severe back pain to single-handedly take India to a memorable and miraculous victory over Australia with a gritty unbeaten 73 in a nail-biting first cricket Test here today.
Laxman, who reserved his best for the Australians, played almost a lone hand in India's run chase of 216 as his experienced colleagues fell to poor shot selection and umpiring error as he guided India to one of its most memorable Test victories.
Sachin Tendulkar was the second highest Indian scorer with 38 while young Ishant Sharma contributed an invaluable 31 in the Test which went down the wire.
With the victory today, India took an unassailable 1-0 lead in the series and retained the Border Gavaskar Trophy with their seventh highest run chase in history.
The the two sides now move to Bangalore for the second and final Test starting in Bangalore from October 9.
Laxman, who used runners in both of India's innings, and Ishant shared an 81-run stand for the ninth wicket from 131 balls and that ensured India achieve what looked impossible when they were looking down the barrel at 124 for eight at one stage.
However with Ishant given a debatable leg before decision by umpire Ian Gould, it was a tense last 15 minutes for the Indian supporters at the PCA Stadium before Laxman and Pragyan Ojha (five not out) took India to the magic score of 216.
India sealed victory with two leg byes got by Pragyan Ojha off Johnson to the wild celebrations at the dressing room and the stands.
Laxman faced just 79 balls for his unbeaten 73 which he made with the help of eight fours while Ishant consumed 92 balls for his 31.
It was indeed a 'Very Very Special' knock from a man who who was not even being able to walk properly for the last two days due to back spasms. Each and every of those 73 runs he scored has worth its weight in gold.
Laxman batted only in the manner he is capable of. The backfoot punches through the cover, the short-arm pulls, extra second he takes while hitting those silken boundaries, those supple wrists and egging the Ishant Sharmas and Pragyan Ojhas to run the singles and twos was worth a sight.
But for Ishant, Laxman would not have completed the magnificent win. Having bowled 14 no-balls, being down with a hamstring injury, Ishant may have scored the most significant 31 runs in his career.
When some of the top-order batsman lacked stomach for fight, Ishant concentrated like a saint to give Laxman the necessary support that he needed to pull off a Herculean act. PTI