On March 22, 2001, India completed arguably its greatest ever Test series victory on home soil. It was against the mighty Australian team led by Steve Waugh and one of the key architects of that historic triumph was Harbhajan Singh.
After being hammered in the first Test in Mumbai by an Australian team that had notched up its 16th consecutive win in the longest format (a record), India rode on VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid’s genius to clinch the second Test in Kolkata, which will go down as an all-time classic.
The third and final Test in the series was played at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai and the wounded Aussies were expected to bounce back. And they did dominate the first day, with Matthew Hayden continuing his rich vein of form to smash a double-century.
Australia posted 391 but India replied with a mammoth 501, thanks to Sachin Tendulkar’s fine innings of 126. The Aussies then got bowled out for 264 and India chased it down with two wickets to spare in a nail-biting finish.
The star of the match, without a shadow of a doubt, was Harbhajan, who had a breakthrough series. While many remember the exploits of Laxman in Kolkata, it was the off-spinner who starred consistently for India in the absence of Anil Kumble and it was no surprise that he was the trump card for Sourav Ganguly in the series decider too. The then 20-year-old off-spinner got seven wickets in Australia’s first innings and eight in the second. It was fitting that he was at the crease when India got the winnings runs.
Watch highlights of that epic match here: