After New Zealand beat India 2-0 at home in 2002/03, their tour of India next year was touted in some circles as a revenge series. As things turned out, New Zealand fought hard to save the first Test match, in Ahmedabad. Then, in Mohali, they almost won the Test match – that too by an innings – had VVS Laxman not played one of his many forgotten gems.

Rahul Dravid’s 222 (he got 73 in the second innings) helped India declare at 500/5 in Ahmedabad. Unfortunately, India did not score quickly enough, and it was not until well into the fourth day that they could bowl out New Zealand for 340. India’s declaration came very late that day: they set New Zealand 370. India vs New Zealand Part 14, 2002/03: New Zealand Win Seam Duel.

But Anil Kumble (4-95) and Harbhajan Singh (2-65) took control Day 5. New Zealand lost their sixth wicket before tea, but India could not break through after that. Nathan Astle and Craig McMillan, having scored 103 and 54 respectively in the first innings, now batted out the remaining forty overs, finishing on 83 and 51.

New Zealand came to Mohali with their chin up. Here, Mark Richardson (145), Lou Vincent (106), Scott Styris (119), and McMillan (100*) all got hundreds. New Zealand stretched their innings into the third morning, on 630/6. India vs New Zealand Part 13, 1999/00: Dion Nash’s Spell and a Sachin Tendulkar First.

Virender Sehwag (130) responded well, but later in the innings, Laxman (104*) was left stranded as India, 364/4 at one point, were bowled out for 424 and had to follow on. Then Daryl Tuffey (4-80), the wrecker-in-chief, scythed through the top order again. He took 3-30, quickly reducing India to 18/3. There were still almost two sessions left, but Aakash Chopra (52) and Laxman (67*) saved the day.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jun 21, 2021 07:13 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website