Field Watch

Video: Reliving the epic Laxman-Dravid partnership in the unforgettable Kolkata Test

On March 14, 17 years ago, the Indian duo batted an entire day as a nation watched in awe.

In the long history of cricket, there are a few moments that have stood the test of time to leave a lasting impact - on the players and fans alike.

From Sachin Tendulkar’s desert storm to Mohammad Kaif and Yuvraj Singh’s fabulous stand in a remarkable chase at Lord’s in the Natwest Trophy, for an Indian fan, the list is long but one that never ceases to amaze.

A major highlight of that distinguished list is a marathon partnership that still seems scarcely believable.

It was on March 14, back in 2001 at the Eden Gardens, that VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid painstakingly pieced together a partnership that would not just help India win the Test from an improbable situation but would go on to form the basis of a winning mentality that was rare to spot previously.

Down 1-0 in the three-match Test series, India were bowled out for 171 in reply to Australia’s 445 in the second Test. To make matters worst, they were asked to follow on.

But, against all odds, India pulled off a miraculous win.

At heart of the improbable win was Laxman and Dravid’s marathon partnership. The former answered the team’s call, when he was promoted to No 3, with a jaw-dropping 281, which was then the highest individual Test score by an Indian. He was supported valiantly by Dravid, who smashed 180. Together the two scored 376 runs taking India from 254/4 to 589/4 - without losing a single wicket on day four. The partnership finally ended on day five with the scoreboard reading 608.

The effort proved enough for India, who not only ended Australia’s 16-Test victorious run the following day, but also altered the perception of the team around the world as one that never gives up.

Here’s a look back at the epic day:

BONUS VIEWING: If you have time on your hands, here are the highlights from what was an unforgettable day in Indian cricket.

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People who fall through the gaps in road safety campaigns

Helmet and road safety campaigns might have been neglecting a sizeable chunk of the public at risk.

City police, across the country, have been running a long-drawn campaign on helmet safety. In a recent initiative by the Bengaluru Police, a cop dressed-up as ‘Lord Ganesha’ offered helmets and roses to two-wheeler riders. Earlier this year, a 12ft high and 9ft wide helmet was installed in Kota as a memorial to the victims of road accidents. As for the social media leg of the campaign, the Mumbai Police made a pop-culture reference to drive the message of road safety through their Twitter handle.

But, just for the sake of conversation, how much safety do helmets provide anyway?

Lack of physical protections put two-wheeler riders at high risk on the road. According to a recent report by the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 1.25 million people die each year as a result of road traffic crashes. Nearly half of those dying on the world’s roads are ‘vulnerable road users’ – pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. According to the Indian transport ministry, about 28 two-wheeler riders died daily on Indian roads in 2016 for not wearing helmets.

The WHO states that wearing a motorcycle helmet correctly can reduce the risk of death by almost 40% and the risk of severe injury by over 70%. The components of a helmet are designed to reduce impact of a force collision to the head. A rigid outer shell distributes the impact over a large surface area, while the soft lining absorbs the impact.

However, getting two-wheeler riders to wear protective headgear has always been an uphill battle, one that has intensified through the years owing to the lives lost due on the road. Communication tactics are generating awareness about the consequences of riding without a helmet and changing behaviour that the law couldn’t on its own. But amidst all the tag-lines, slogans and get-ups that reach out to the rider, the safety of the one on the passenger seat is being ignored.

Pillion rider safety has always been second in priority. While several state governments are making helmets for pillion riders mandatory, the lack of awareness about its importance runs deep. In Mumbai itself, only 1% of the 20 lakh pillion riders wear helmets. There seems to be this perception that while two-wheeler riders are safer wearing a helmet, their passengers don’t necessarily need one. Statistics prove otherwise. For instance, in Hyderabad, the Cyberabad traffic police reported that 1 of every 3 two-wheeler deaths was that of a pillion rider. DGP Chander, Goa, stressed that 71% of fatalities in road accidents in 2017 were of two-wheeler rider and pillion riders of which 66% deaths were due to head injury.

Despite the alarming statistics, pillion riders, who are as vulnerable as front riders to head-injuries, have never been the focus of helmet awareness and safety drives. To fill-up that communication gap, Reliance General Insurance has engineered a campaign, titled #FaceThePace, that focusses solely on pillion rider safety. The campaign film tells a relatable story of a father taking his son for cricket practice on a motorbike. It then uses cricket to bring our attention to a simple flaw in the way we think about pillion rider safety – using a helmet to play a sport makes sense, but somehow, protecting your head while riding on a two-wheeler isn’t considered.

This road safety initiative by Reliance General Insurance has taken the lead in addressing the helmet issue as a whole — pillion or front, helmets are crucial for two-wheeler riders. The film ensures that we realise how selective our worry about head injury is by comparing the statistics of children deaths due to road accidents to fatal accidents on a cricket ground. Message delivered. Watch the video to see how the story pans out.

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Reliance General Insurance and not by the Scroll editorial team.