India trailed Australia [ Images ] by 42 runs after following-on when Rahul Dravid [ Images ] joined VVS Laxman [ Images ] in the second Test at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata [ Images ] in 2001. What followed was the most glorious chapter in Indian cricket's history. Laxman went on to score 281 and his knock was later rated as the best of the century.
Three years later, in Mumbai [ Images ], with India [ Images ] already handed a historic series defeat and staring down at a whitewash, Laxman came up with another gem. This time it was a crash course in classy batting on a rough Wankhede track in Mumbai, against an all-conquering Australian team. Laxman scored 69; India won by 13 runs.
When the team and his batting looked done in, Laxman was able to script the defining moments for India. Coincidently, both the knocks came with him batting at number three. The batsman has an average of 53.92 batting one down, a lot better than his career average of 43.49.
Laxman, whose average batting at number six is 45.39, hasn't scored a century this season. His average has slipped to 22.14 and there are the usual calls for his head.
The stylish Hyderabadi needs another big one; the second Test against Pakistan in Kolkata will be crucial to the outcome of this series. Is it time to bring him at number three?