India v South Africa, 2nd Test, Kolkata, 3rd day February 16, 2010

A perfect fit at No. 5

N Hunter
VVS Laxman's style of forcing the opposition to retreat is perhaps not as in your face as MS Dhoni's, but it's as effective
41

MS Dhoni is right. No. 5 is the perfect position for VVS Laxman. It's where India need his abundant experience, a position that links the top order to the inexperienced middle and lower ranks. It's a position of responsibility, meant for a secure man like Laxman, who has worked hard to come to terms with his role in the team.

As soon as Laxman was declared fit for the second Test, the question was where to fit him in the batting order? His desire to bat at one drop is well known. That, coupled with his aggressive batting, which has dominated even the best Australian attacks, may have been reason enough to slot Laxman at No. 3 in Rahul Dravid's absence, especially if one of the openers fell early. But India needed an experienced hand, along with MS Dhoni, in the middle order. And so Laxman stayed at No. 5.

The series and the No. 1 ranking were at stake when Laxman walked on to Eden Gardens on Monday evening. He survived that testing period, another one on Tuesday morning and finished unbeaten with a fabulous century, his fourth at his favourite venue. Laxman became the first batsman to pass 1000 runs at Eden Gardens, and only the second Indian after Sunil Gavaskar to do so at any venue.

Artists rarely stray away from their strengths; they only improvise with a subtlety that can be missed in a blink. South Africa were caught unawares as Laxman, in the company of Dhoni, took the game away from them with the smile never leaving his face.

South Africa had regretted not sticking to their plans on the second day but at Eden Gardens, Laxman's home away from home, he knows his scoring areas so accurately that no bowler surprised him. He did fend some short deliveries in clumsy fashion and was beaten by furious outswingers from Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel. But that embarrassed smile was only an act, which masks the inner steel that Laxman seldom expresses.

Two balls before the second drinks break, JP Duminy bowled an innocuous short ball outside off stump. Laxman raised his bat high, suggesting he might cut the ball hard. Instead, he merely guided it to the fielder at point. His decision not to take advantage of such a loose ball even astonished AB de Villiers behind the stumps and both men exchanged smiles. The next ball, a wee bit fuller, was converted into a full toss as Laxman planted his left foot forward, lunged and caressed it between cover and mid off for four.

It needs a special gift to play the strokes Laxman does. He can dazzle with an array of them but his art is rooted in simplicity. Laxman had scored at least a half-century in his last seven Tests in Kolkata. He had not scored a century since his support act to Gautam Gambhir's match-saving century in Napier. The expectations of Laxman are heavy due to the success of other batsmen higher in the order.

When Laxman arrives at the crease, he is required either to give finishing touches to a strong batting performance or form a rearguard with the tail. The first role has little glamour, the second is extremely demanding. And Laxman is one of the few who play only Test cricket so each match is a challenge for him.

That he has been successful in meeting these demands is down to, in his own words, his adeptness at playing the situation. The 2009 series against Sri Lanka is a good example: in Ahmedabad, India were battling to save the Test, so Laxman had to stay put - he made 51 off 160 balls. In Kanpur and Mumbai, where Virender Sehwag had led India to record first-innings scores, he needed to score quicker and made 63 and 62. "You have to just adapt to the situation, play according to the situation, and play the role that the team gives you," he had told Cricinfo's Opening Up recently.

Today, he said he could have converted some of those starts into bigger scores. "I was a little bit disappointed that I was not able to convert my 50s and 60s into hundreds but on the positive side I am able to consistently perform for the team," Laxman said.

He was able to adapt to today's situation easily because he was batting with Dhoni. Dhoni's unorthodox method of scoring is in contrast to Laxman's picturesque handiwork but they complemented each other, forcing Graeme Smith to set defensive and well spread fields. "You can see the body language of the bowlers whenever Dhoni gets in. They are very defensive when they bowl or the way they move," Laxman.

Laxman's style of forcing the opposition to retreat is perhaps not as in your face as Dhoni's, but it's as effective.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on February 20, 2010, 11:57 GMT

    I am really delighted to see an article with all praises to Laxman. Truely, the most under rated cricket cricketer in Indian Cricket yet again proved his caliber.Looking at stats some might think that there are not many centuries under his belt.But the position is very typical.In that position either Lax has to play with tailenders to save India or by the time he reaches 50/60 odd score its time to declare the innings.A perfect team man, a first class artist.His bat is more talkative than him.He deserves a place in ODIs as well as hard hitting will not always be useful and some one who stands firm are still needed in any form of the game. It is unfortunate that he is still not being considered for PADMA awards.

    I love you VVS.

  • on February 17, 2010, 6:52 GMT

    a perfect batsman at no.5/6. laxman lost oppurtunity of scoring few more centuries due to the fragile indian tail, but thats laxman... never complaining and always upto the task with a smile on his face. brillaint slip fielder , close to dravid both in terms of elegance in batting and safe pair of hands on the field... kudos Laxman. India is proud to have u...

  • Vinit_Sharma_Singh on February 17, 2010, 6:28 GMT

    VVS Laxman is the ideal number 3 batsman, even with Dravid in the side, and I believe that India has cost themselves better results by not playing him in this position. The batsman who comes in at 3 can set the tempo of the game, whilst coming in at 6 (which Laxman has for a lot of his career) it has generally already been set. Living in Australia I have been privileged enough to see the best of Laxman, and his ability to get stuck in & survive when the going's tough as well as to dominate when the time is right means that India has wasted the opportunity to achieve more success by not having him at 3. Dravid has played some great innings, but too often he causes India to get bogged down (especially if Sehwag gets out early) and although he can be difficult to dismiss, the opposition is never worried that he will take the game away from them. Laxman, however, has an ability to dictate terms that Dravid simply doesn't have, and most certainly can take the game away from the opposition.

  • sreehk on February 17, 2010, 6:01 GMT

    Very Very Special..isn't he? He is no doubt one of those indespensable 5 fingers of a hand. If Dravid and Sachin are Gods at 3 and 4, so is VVS at No.5. Yes, the amount of time he spends at the crease should definitely have promoted him to N0.3 position. He is probably the only batsman to keep eveybody in the field enticed and hooked when he plays a stroke. There is a good reason for this. It goes: As he is not aggressive, the bowler anticipates he is nervouos and bowls full and straight on off stump..VVS gently times the ball..the fielders2 of them run behind the ball...camera men chase the ball too..umpire watches tirelessly to see whether it corsses the ropes...and boy it does! So sweet is his timing that everybody in the game is involved when he plays, in contrast to a crashing hit to fence which seems so routine. In Laxman's case both the journey and destination of a storke are beautiful. That he can place same ball in 4 different positions goes on to say about VVS's artistry.

  • Rydham on February 17, 2010, 5:53 GMT

    Lax has proved his ability and now he is on such a stage from where he can only climb and not slip. He deserves the place in all time India XI of test matches. My feeling is that he should be considered even for one day games where we are lacking in middle order. Considering his age he will be able to serve India further 3 years so he should be used in ODI, too just like Thilan Samaraveera of SL. See how Thilan is useful to SL at No.5 in ODIs. Youngsters can be there in ODIs but No. 4 or 5 in ODIs also should be given to Lax. Youngsters can wait for another 3 years just as Yuvraj waited to enter in test squad in place of Sourav Ganguly !!

  • on February 17, 2010, 5:09 GMT

    v.v.s.laxman knocks is very special. india took its opportunity .South Africa lost the momentum on 1st day 3rd session.1st test loss was a set back but skill are not lost in a single match.the loss of 7 wickets on 3rd session of 1st day was the turning point of the match.Zaheer has spearheaded the bowling attack well.lakshman and harbhajan always give the star performance at Eden.Nice to see full match on Eden after the flood light problem in previous game.Sehwag set the game for India from batting side .He checked his shots in order to last the game till end. It is a nice change and hope he will entertain the public more instead of gifting his wicket after setting the tempo.

  • on February 17, 2010, 4:56 GMT

    Laxman is a great in modern day cricket even if his persona and attitude reflect the old world charm one knew in the cricket of old. His game too is as identifiable as they say the leg glance was the Ranji initial. Whether it is one year or three that he lasts at the highest level let us just savour every moment. Artists like him never happen every day.Orelse art will be commomplace.

  • JAYESH10 on February 17, 2010, 4:46 GMT

    Day before yesterday on Neo cricket, there was an interview of Laxman, when he was asked who did he think was the best batsman in the team, his answer was : Sachin & Sehwag. To categorize Sehwag along with Sachin says a lot about the man's ability. The SA came to India with preparations for Sehwag & how has he responded, the 2nd highest run getter until now with 2 booming centuries, opening the batting, taking the opposition head-on, scoring fast, dominating bowlers, scoring boundaries at will as well as rotating strike, least bothered about personal records and scoring consistently. The man is great & only another great can recognise a great

  • Thomas_George on February 17, 2010, 4:33 GMT

    Laxman is best at number 3, even if Rahul Dravid is playing. I thought that it was injustice not to play Dinesh Karthik instead of Murali Vijay. Dinesh Karthik being a wicket keeper should not be held against his status as a batsman. He is a fantastic bastman, and should have been given the opportunity to prove his mettle as a batsman against a very good pace attack.

  • on February 17, 2010, 4:15 GMT

    It was a very special Knock from Lax, He and Sachin ensured that this match will be won, the other two guys (Viru and Mahi) actually flurished by the mere presence of these two on the other side. We still do not have replacement for Rahul, we have no sight of another Sachin, and there is only one Lax... so when these guys retire.. man we are looking at a gapping hole that will take some beating to be plugged. Ganguly is not missed today because Mahi has gott he covered by himself. These three anyway have another three years at least with them... by then the youngsters should grow up and get into their shoes.

    If Dravid is an Icon of Maturity and Gentlemanship, Sachin is Genius and Laxis the best artist with a bat and on his day, the rest look too small.

  • on February 20, 2010, 11:57 GMT

    I am really delighted to see an article with all praises to Laxman. Truely, the most under rated cricket cricketer in Indian Cricket yet again proved his caliber.Looking at stats some might think that there are not many centuries under his belt.But the position is very typical.In that position either Lax has to play with tailenders to save India or by the time he reaches 50/60 odd score its time to declare the innings.A perfect team man, a first class artist.His bat is more talkative than him.He deserves a place in ODIs as well as hard hitting will not always be useful and some one who stands firm are still needed in any form of the game. It is unfortunate that he is still not being considered for PADMA awards.

    I love you VVS.

  • on February 17, 2010, 6:52 GMT

    a perfect batsman at no.5/6. laxman lost oppurtunity of scoring few more centuries due to the fragile indian tail, but thats laxman... never complaining and always upto the task with a smile on his face. brillaint slip fielder , close to dravid both in terms of elegance in batting and safe pair of hands on the field... kudos Laxman. India is proud to have u...

  • Vinit_Sharma_Singh on February 17, 2010, 6:28 GMT

    VVS Laxman is the ideal number 3 batsman, even with Dravid in the side, and I believe that India has cost themselves better results by not playing him in this position. The batsman who comes in at 3 can set the tempo of the game, whilst coming in at 6 (which Laxman has for a lot of his career) it has generally already been set. Living in Australia I have been privileged enough to see the best of Laxman, and his ability to get stuck in & survive when the going's tough as well as to dominate when the time is right means that India has wasted the opportunity to achieve more success by not having him at 3. Dravid has played some great innings, but too often he causes India to get bogged down (especially if Sehwag gets out early) and although he can be difficult to dismiss, the opposition is never worried that he will take the game away from them. Laxman, however, has an ability to dictate terms that Dravid simply doesn't have, and most certainly can take the game away from the opposition.

  • sreehk on February 17, 2010, 6:01 GMT

    Very Very Special..isn't he? He is no doubt one of those indespensable 5 fingers of a hand. If Dravid and Sachin are Gods at 3 and 4, so is VVS at No.5. Yes, the amount of time he spends at the crease should definitely have promoted him to N0.3 position. He is probably the only batsman to keep eveybody in the field enticed and hooked when he plays a stroke. There is a good reason for this. It goes: As he is not aggressive, the bowler anticipates he is nervouos and bowls full and straight on off stump..VVS gently times the ball..the fielders2 of them run behind the ball...camera men chase the ball too..umpire watches tirelessly to see whether it corsses the ropes...and boy it does! So sweet is his timing that everybody in the game is involved when he plays, in contrast to a crashing hit to fence which seems so routine. In Laxman's case both the journey and destination of a storke are beautiful. That he can place same ball in 4 different positions goes on to say about VVS's artistry.

  • Rydham on February 17, 2010, 5:53 GMT

    Lax has proved his ability and now he is on such a stage from where he can only climb and not slip. He deserves the place in all time India XI of test matches. My feeling is that he should be considered even for one day games where we are lacking in middle order. Considering his age he will be able to serve India further 3 years so he should be used in ODI, too just like Thilan Samaraveera of SL. See how Thilan is useful to SL at No.5 in ODIs. Youngsters can be there in ODIs but No. 4 or 5 in ODIs also should be given to Lax. Youngsters can wait for another 3 years just as Yuvraj waited to enter in test squad in place of Sourav Ganguly !!

  • on February 17, 2010, 5:09 GMT

    v.v.s.laxman knocks is very special. india took its opportunity .South Africa lost the momentum on 1st day 3rd session.1st test loss was a set back but skill are not lost in a single match.the loss of 7 wickets on 3rd session of 1st day was the turning point of the match.Zaheer has spearheaded the bowling attack well.lakshman and harbhajan always give the star performance at Eden.Nice to see full match on Eden after the flood light problem in previous game.Sehwag set the game for India from batting side .He checked his shots in order to last the game till end. It is a nice change and hope he will entertain the public more instead of gifting his wicket after setting the tempo.

  • on February 17, 2010, 4:56 GMT

    Laxman is a great in modern day cricket even if his persona and attitude reflect the old world charm one knew in the cricket of old. His game too is as identifiable as they say the leg glance was the Ranji initial. Whether it is one year or three that he lasts at the highest level let us just savour every moment. Artists like him never happen every day.Orelse art will be commomplace.

  • JAYESH10 on February 17, 2010, 4:46 GMT

    Day before yesterday on Neo cricket, there was an interview of Laxman, when he was asked who did he think was the best batsman in the team, his answer was : Sachin & Sehwag. To categorize Sehwag along with Sachin says a lot about the man's ability. The SA came to India with preparations for Sehwag & how has he responded, the 2nd highest run getter until now with 2 booming centuries, opening the batting, taking the opposition head-on, scoring fast, dominating bowlers, scoring boundaries at will as well as rotating strike, least bothered about personal records and scoring consistently. The man is great & only another great can recognise a great

  • Thomas_George on February 17, 2010, 4:33 GMT

    Laxman is best at number 3, even if Rahul Dravid is playing. I thought that it was injustice not to play Dinesh Karthik instead of Murali Vijay. Dinesh Karthik being a wicket keeper should not be held against his status as a batsman. He is a fantastic bastman, and should have been given the opportunity to prove his mettle as a batsman against a very good pace attack.

  • on February 17, 2010, 4:15 GMT

    It was a very special Knock from Lax, He and Sachin ensured that this match will be won, the other two guys (Viru and Mahi) actually flurished by the mere presence of these two on the other side. We still do not have replacement for Rahul, we have no sight of another Sachin, and there is only one Lax... so when these guys retire.. man we are looking at a gapping hole that will take some beating to be plugged. Ganguly is not missed today because Mahi has gott he covered by himself. These three anyway have another three years at least with them... by then the youngsters should grow up and get into their shoes.

    If Dravid is an Icon of Maturity and Gentlemanship, Sachin is Genius and Laxis the best artist with a bat and on his day, the rest look too small.

  • on February 17, 2010, 3:58 GMT

    The eternal unsung hero of Indian cricket marches on; another par-for-the-course day at the office for him. He is so calm and collected at the crease that he can be called ReLaxman!!

  • cricconnossieur on February 17, 2010, 3:40 GMT

    It gives a nice warm feeling to read all the praise on Laxman, it feels as if it is one of your own that is being lauded.It is also a great thing that innate goodness of a sportsman and the simple beauty and art of batsmanship is well appreciated. Will it be a wild guess to presume that all those who have posted these comments are in the 30plus age bracket ? One thing that has not been quite higlighted and I want to bring forth is Laxman's unassuming and underrated skills in the Slip cordon.He is easily the best that we've ever had, his no-fuss style and the quality od blinders that he had taken betters even the other Great-good man of Indian cricket--Rahul Dravid.

  • on February 17, 2010, 3:33 GMT

    laxman is very very special!!

  • on February 17, 2010, 2:39 GMT

    Laxman is a professional. A true one! His ability to play according to the demand of the situation has delivered the best results for the Indian Cricket team. Test cricket is the purest form of cricket, as it demands all round maturity and skill. Laxman, undoubtedly, is one of the most matured players in the game and hence he is best suited for this form of the game. India needs a few more Laxman's. The worry is will the frivolous T20, which is making cricket into cheap entertainment, come in the way of creating a few more Laxmans?

  • 777aditya on February 17, 2010, 0:57 GMT

    Laxman raised his bat again - its like a Ranga-Billa jodi this super combo of Mr. Very Very Special at his beloved Eden Gardens. It has always been a pleasure to see Laxman paint his innings, draw his footwork, and brush away bowlers with the panache, the elan that few others can. In his earlier days, comparisons were drawn between Laxman and Md. Azharuddin (who btw has an equally impressive record at Eden Gardens) much in the same way like Sehwag was compared to Sachin. To be compared to such huge giants of the game early in one's careers could have weighed down many a shoulder, but not Laxman, not Sehwag - both, to their credit, have now carved a niche for themselves with such determination that Azhar and Sachin should be really smiling satisfied upon them like doting elder brothers. Laxman times the ball, does not hit it, so well that the ball almost falls in love with his bat. The artistry of the wristy smiling assassin is stuff legends are made of. LAGEY RAHO LAXMAN BHAI !!

  • Maui3 on February 17, 2010, 0:38 GMT

    Laxman's game and its character is a beauty. In a few years time we'll realise how priviledged we are to see Laxman, Darvid, Tendulkar, Sehwag (and Gambhir and Dhoni at #7) to play in the same team and recognize that this may be the best ever batting lineup ever to play at home or abroad.

  • on February 17, 2010, 0:07 GMT

    Then there was that wrong-footing of Duminy! Did you all see that? Ball pitching outside off, all the time in the world for Lax to play, Duminy moves to his left at covers anticipating that's where Lax will play; Lax watches and places the ball to the right of JP.. and even JP is forced to smile. Wow, Lax is the artist.

  • vaidy on February 16, 2010, 23:15 GMT

    Yes, Laxman is indeed very very special. However, a lesson to be learned: Stats do no favour to this fantastic batsman. 15th test century in 110 odd test matches may seem very less for a batsman of his caliber. Hope the stats gurus come up with a formula to rank a batsman's career being weighted to performance under duress and match winning efforts.

    I have lost count of the number of times he was not out on 50s and 60s from 120-200 balls, having held up the tail and saved India.

    Good on you mate, we will all remember you as one of the finest.

  • jamrith on February 16, 2010, 22:30 GMT

    VVS, in your case, the cliched nickname is completely appropriate, you are indeed Very Very Special and a gentleman to boot. Beaten by an outswinge, you respond to the bowler's snarl or sneer with a 'guilty' smile, but when you clip the same bowler delightfully off your toes next ball you don't even look at the bowler. But VVS, time marches on and your true fans want you to retire on a high. We will miss you, but your health and well-being is more important. Thank you VVS.

  • on February 16, 2010, 21:38 GMT

    He shld be picked for ODI's. I can't forget him getting dropped for 2003 / 2007. If he can be back for the SA series & for the World cup, it will be a special gift to the special batsman. And, he wont disappoint!!

  • on February 16, 2010, 20:11 GMT

    What a player! If ever there was someone supremely under-rated and under played, it's Laxy

  • PraveenMangu on February 16, 2010, 19:49 GMT

    Doesn't matter if it's No.3 or No.5! He can win a match for India at any position. Keep going VVS.

  • timus6778 on February 16, 2010, 19:32 GMT

    laxman has always been the unsung hero of indian cricket...there never was a doubt about his worth in the team and his talent...bring the aussies ..they know better..they were at the receiving ends on on a number of occasions...just carry on laxman..people like u and rahul are a delight to watch. GOOD LUCK INDIA

  • knowledge_eater on February 16, 2010, 18:03 GMT

    My apologies to Mr. N Hunter, because i said my comment never appeared on one of your article, mentioning India's future. My comment did appear on Feb 9. http://www.cricinfo.com/indvrsa2010/content/story/447467.html?comments=all#comments Thank you, so as i stated everything looks like going towards Dhoni's plan. Some people say he was lucky, some say he is genius And Dada will say "he is bit of gambler". Should Badri was dropped and Dhoni would have come to bat and was being bowled by Steyn's beauty(instead Badri did). Then we would have seen different scoreboard." Again, I recommend all my fans to trust in to team. Always remember we are spectator not players. However, it is consumable that fans can be emotional. Watch action movies people(joke) Maybe we are yet see Kalis, Devillers or Amla's Superglue resistant or The Blue Boogyman in disguise of Turbanator. You never know. Always back your team. They loose or win. Again my apologies to Mr. N.Hunter. My comment did appear.Google :P

  • mandi on February 16, 2010, 17:51 GMT

    Laxman is very very special for team india.

  • East_West on February 16, 2010, 17:43 GMT

    well written Mr Hunter! Although I have been criticizing Hyderabadi Jewel lately, he is a class apart from many, including this IPL dhoom dhamaka heroes or World T20 heroes who can/should learn some from Laxman! He may be the most humble but his strokes are treat to watch! It was high time to see a score like that Laxman delivered it! As some know he was supposed to be a Physician but ended up in Cricket! Considering his high precision skills with the bat, I bet he would have been a damn good doctor as well!

  • BrianCharlesVivek on February 16, 2010, 17:12 GMT

    After Dravid s will at 3, Sachin s mastery at 4, Ganguly s eloquence at 5, Laxman is a cocktail of all these. After that 167 at Perth, every innings big or small , has been a treat to watch.He brings a sense of quietness to whatever he does. He has quietly got 7k runs, quietly played 100 tests, quietly matured as a saviour. In crucial times and in times of crisis, few would have played like him. Damien Martyn comes close in that regard. It was once again a flawless and resolute innings from Very Very Special. Laxman. And as Dravid himself said, he has calmed the team again , even though it wasnt a crisis this time. And to mention that one of the most under appreciated batsman as well. I am the first to comment to this article. There were loads of comments for S.aga s article on Sachin and Sehwag. But teh flicks and glances wouldnt stop for this man...:)

  • singhjay on February 16, 2010, 17:09 GMT

    Simply and undoubtedly Laxman is class act !

  • risetohonor on February 16, 2010, 17:09 GMT

    Yeah!!! First one in!!! Nice article. I have often felt that Laxman is very unlucky in terms of batting position despite being an excellent stroke player. His career coincided with the arrival of the other greats (SRT, Dravid and Ganguly) with more aggression and slightly better averages meaning that Lax was always going to move down the order. That said, kudos to another fine performance from the man with rubber band wrists. Hopefully the fab 3 will continue to show why they are so fabulous. Incidentally maybe Lax can go on a hundred streak too considering SRT is on one and I believe dravid hit a few in a row too. btw another poor outing for vijay meaning that essentially laxman was at no.4 (SRT being 3).

  • srimacho on February 16, 2010, 17:02 GMT

    VVS as his name indicates Very Very Special is a gifted player in himself and the most consistent batsmen i have seen in test cricket. He does let his bat talk wherever he might be, let it be on home soil/foreign soil and the way his bat talks is impeccable.

    His timing and wrist play is an art in itself and very few(azhar) has that talent. The way he batted today shows the class and even though he is the saviour of test cricket, he gets less attention in the indian cricket.

    Nevertheless, VVS, let your bat talk and let it talk for atleast next 3 years.

    Jhanapana, toffa(a bow) kubul karo!!!

  • on February 16, 2010, 16:54 GMT

    Laxman is one of the classiest players India has got. He is not as celebrated as Sehwag, Sachin and Dhoni, but along with Dravid he is the top 2 most important batsmen in the lineup. Without Dravid and Laxman Indian batting card would like what it it did in Nagpur.

  • Sugarfree on February 16, 2010, 16:47 GMT

    Interesting how every one said that Laxman was a default for the no 3 postion in the absence of Dravid before this match started.

  • on February 16, 2010, 16:36 GMT

    He's played some of the most important knocks in Indian victories in the last decade or so. People go on about his 281 and rightly so but people should also remember 148 at Adeilade, 79 at Perth. Those were brilliant knocks.

    This knock is up there because we had lost 3 quick wickets but he didn't panic and made a very crucial century.

  • on February 16, 2010, 16:32 GMT

    A single shot off Harris this morning was worth a trip to Eden Gardens. A delicate push placed between short extra cover and cover - a few inches in either direction and it would have found the fielder, but VVS the magician pierced that fine gap with all the grace of calligrapher. He will retire soon, and with him will be gone rare and sublime artistry. Sigh.

  • Goju on February 16, 2010, 16:24 GMT

    Aaaaaaah yes..Laxman - that sums it up really.

    Was watching him play, and I didn't even realise he had gone passed 70 when he was already on 99. Simple, effortless, languid and effective.

    More traditional in nature, the South African's would have thought he was using their tactics of occupying the crease and refusing to score at more than 3 an-over. There is a sense of inevitability to his batting. Middle-and-leg - flicked for four, full outside off - stroked through the covers. Laxman is batting, it is spring and the daffodils have sprung again.

    Steyn bowls inswinging snorters making Badri look like an amateur, Laxman takes half a step forward and has a straight bat. Vijay gets smashed on the helmet, Laxman sways aside.

    Everyone outside of India new he was amazing, now the Indians have seen it in the space of two tests. Irreplaceable and unsung, and NOT past his prime.

  • on February 16, 2010, 16:08 GMT

    He is really a wonderful batsman with great wrists and a sound technique.A perfect no 5.

  • no_second_chance_for_batsman on February 16, 2010, 16:03 GMT

    with all due respect to author of this article -- its easy to write after the results --- as Laxman got support from Dhoni and both made centuries. What would have happened if Dhoni got out ?

    VVS is a very experienced player & sending in players like Badrinath & Vijay is senseless. Well Dhoni will get support from Badri &Vijay if they come later.

    Just based on pure experience -- VVS should bat up the order.

    Cheers, Kumar

  • ElectronSmoke on February 16, 2010, 15:59 GMT

    On days like these when the Indian batting comes together you just sit back and enjoy. Sehwag's high paced scoring coupled with an appetite for big scores is extolled enough. Tendulkar has been acknowledged a genius for so long that his centuries these days almost seem a scientific inevitability. Dhoni has tempered his natural flamboyance with responsibility to raise his game. Laxman - though is a sight for sore eyes! His strokes teased the fielders all day while eventually winning the race. He seldom looks "out-of-form" - another day one of those wristy flicks might take the leading edge. On days when it doesn't though, the bowlers can be excused for feeling hopeless.

  • ElectronSmoke on February 16, 2010, 15:56 GMT

    On days like these when the Indian batting comes together you just sit back and enjoy. Sehwag's high paced scoring coupled with an appetite for big scores is extolled enough. Tendulkar has been acknowledged a genius for so long that his centuries these days almost seem a scientific inevitability. Dhoni has tempered his natural flamboyance with responsibility to raise his game. Laxman - though is a sight for sore eyes! His strokes teased the fielders all day while eventually winning the race. He seldom looks "out-of-form" - another day one of those wristy flicks might take the leading edge. On days when it doesn't though, the bowlers can be excused for feeling hopeless.

  • AnuragAcharya on February 16, 2010, 15:47 GMT

    Well said, especially the last line!!! Laxman is a brilliant player. It is great to watch him perform in test arena, the REAL cricket!

  • kkrish555 on February 16, 2010, 15:46 GMT

    He was clearly the difference between the last match and this match. If was there at tea in 1st innings in first test test match there was every chance that India would have scrapped through that day and there was every possibility of India saving that match. Also he could have been of great help in the second innings as well. Any way good to see him score a century.

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  • kkrish555 on February 16, 2010, 15:46 GMT

    He was clearly the difference between the last match and this match. If was there at tea in 1st innings in first test test match there was every chance that India would have scrapped through that day and there was every possibility of India saving that match. Also he could have been of great help in the second innings as well. Any way good to see him score a century.

  • AnuragAcharya on February 16, 2010, 15:47 GMT

    Well said, especially the last line!!! Laxman is a brilliant player. It is great to watch him perform in test arena, the REAL cricket!

  • ElectronSmoke on February 16, 2010, 15:56 GMT

    On days like these when the Indian batting comes together you just sit back and enjoy. Sehwag's high paced scoring coupled with an appetite for big scores is extolled enough. Tendulkar has been acknowledged a genius for so long that his centuries these days almost seem a scientific inevitability. Dhoni has tempered his natural flamboyance with responsibility to raise his game. Laxman - though is a sight for sore eyes! His strokes teased the fielders all day while eventually winning the race. He seldom looks "out-of-form" - another day one of those wristy flicks might take the leading edge. On days when it doesn't though, the bowlers can be excused for feeling hopeless.

  • ElectronSmoke on February 16, 2010, 15:59 GMT

    On days like these when the Indian batting comes together you just sit back and enjoy. Sehwag's high paced scoring coupled with an appetite for big scores is extolled enough. Tendulkar has been acknowledged a genius for so long that his centuries these days almost seem a scientific inevitability. Dhoni has tempered his natural flamboyance with responsibility to raise his game. Laxman - though is a sight for sore eyes! His strokes teased the fielders all day while eventually winning the race. He seldom looks "out-of-form" - another day one of those wristy flicks might take the leading edge. On days when it doesn't though, the bowlers can be excused for feeling hopeless.

  • no_second_chance_for_batsman on February 16, 2010, 16:03 GMT

    with all due respect to author of this article -- its easy to write after the results --- as Laxman got support from Dhoni and both made centuries. What would have happened if Dhoni got out ?

    VVS is a very experienced player & sending in players like Badrinath & Vijay is senseless. Well Dhoni will get support from Badri &Vijay if they come later.

    Just based on pure experience -- VVS should bat up the order.

    Cheers, Kumar

  • on February 16, 2010, 16:08 GMT

    He is really a wonderful batsman with great wrists and a sound technique.A perfect no 5.

  • Goju on February 16, 2010, 16:24 GMT

    Aaaaaaah yes..Laxman - that sums it up really.

    Was watching him play, and I didn't even realise he had gone passed 70 when he was already on 99. Simple, effortless, languid and effective.

    More traditional in nature, the South African's would have thought he was using their tactics of occupying the crease and refusing to score at more than 3 an-over. There is a sense of inevitability to his batting. Middle-and-leg - flicked for four, full outside off - stroked through the covers. Laxman is batting, it is spring and the daffodils have sprung again.

    Steyn bowls inswinging snorters making Badri look like an amateur, Laxman takes half a step forward and has a straight bat. Vijay gets smashed on the helmet, Laxman sways aside.

    Everyone outside of India new he was amazing, now the Indians have seen it in the space of two tests. Irreplaceable and unsung, and NOT past his prime.

  • on February 16, 2010, 16:32 GMT

    A single shot off Harris this morning was worth a trip to Eden Gardens. A delicate push placed between short extra cover and cover - a few inches in either direction and it would have found the fielder, but VVS the magician pierced that fine gap with all the grace of calligrapher. He will retire soon, and with him will be gone rare and sublime artistry. Sigh.

  • on February 16, 2010, 16:36 GMT

    He's played some of the most important knocks in Indian victories in the last decade or so. People go on about his 281 and rightly so but people should also remember 148 at Adeilade, 79 at Perth. Those were brilliant knocks.

    This knock is up there because we had lost 3 quick wickets but he didn't panic and made a very crucial century.

  • Sugarfree on February 16, 2010, 16:47 GMT

    Interesting how every one said that Laxman was a default for the no 3 postion in the absence of Dravid before this match started.