Inside Sport - - First XI -

In the de­ci­sive Third Test of 2001 against Waugh’s Aus­tralians, Harbhajan’s stun­ning 15-wicket haul was piv­otal. The se­ries was locked at 1-1, Aus­tralia’s win­ning streak of 16 had been bro­ken, but by the time Chen­nai came around, it seemed nor­mal­ity had been re­stored. Cer­tainly it had for Matthew Hay­den, who added 203 to his al­ready moun­tain­ous se­ries.

In Aus­tralia’s first-in­nings 391, Harbhajan omi­nously took seven and, as the pitch de­te­ri­o­rated, the Aussies knew he was ready to re­peat the ef­fort. A ver­sa­tile and ef­fec­tive off-spin­ner with a mean doosra and a provoca­tive man­ner, Harbhajan had been named by Mu­rali him­self as his suc­ces­sor.

The “Tur­bana­tor” lived up to his billing, but de­spite Harbhajan hav­ing al­ready sliced through a pow­er­ful batting line-up on day four with for­mi­da­ble bounce and spin, the Aussies be­gan the fi­nal day at 7-241, hop­ing still for a sub­stan­tial lead. Skip­per Waugh was still in but Harbhajan swept aside the fi­nal three, in­clud­ing the ob­sti­nate Waugh, tak­ing 8-82 over­all. In­dia had plenty of time to knock off the 155 needed. They did so with a mere two wick­ets in hand. In a tense fin­ish, Harbhajan hit the win­ning runs. Al­most half his 32 wick­ets for the se­ries came in this one match.

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