It was Day 1 of the second test of Border Gavaskar Series at Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Steve Waugh’s men were just one test match away from creating history, that is winning 17 Test Matches on the trot and in Steve Waugh’s words, conquering the ‘final frontier’.
Australia were off to a great start and were 193/1 at Tea with Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer going great guns and not giving the Indian bowlers any chance. But once the post tea session started, it appeared that demons had gotten into the track at Eden Gardens and the red cherry was doing all sorts of tricks.
At the centre stage was a 21 year old skinny Sardar from the town of Jalandhar in Punjab, who perhaps didn’t have that level of skill at that time, but gave a lion-hearted performance. Harbhajan Singh made it to the team on the back of an injury to Anil Kumble, India’s highest wicket taker and on the personal request of then captain Saurav Ganguly. Rest as they say, is history.
“I just wish my father Sardev Singh was here today. He passed away six months back. He would have really felt proud about my performance,” he said. Harbhajan Singh not only took 32 wickets in the 3 match series but also became the first Indian to take a hattrick in Tests. His battle with the Aussies over the years has been a classic example of battling fire with fire and giving it back to the Aussies. Today on the turbanator’s 35th birthday, witness the first ever hat-trick by an Indian here again: