VVS Laxman has announced retirement from international cricket on Saturday. Here is the lowdown on his 16-year career.
Test debut: Laxman played his first Test against South Africa in the 1996. He contributed 11 and 51, and his fifty in the second innings was important in the context of the match as India won by 64 runs in a low-scoring contest.
Rite of passage: India's tour to Australia in 1999 was highly unsuccessful as they lost all three Tests by big margins. However, in the last Test at Sydney, Laxman played a gem of an innings that was kind of a saving grace for the Indians. He scored 167 in India's second innings of 261 and impressed one and all with his back-foot play. Mind you, in the opposition team were the likes of Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee and Shane Warne.
Coming of Age: Laxman's gargantuan innings of 281 against Australia in the Eden Gardens Test in 2001 is a fairytale. Following on, India came up with an extraordinary fightback thanks to Laxman and Rahul Dravid (180). Both added 376 runs for the fifth wicket as India halted the Kangaroos' winning streak. He was christened as 'Very Very Special' Laxman from that point on.
ODI exploits: Laxman's ODI debut came in 1998 against Zimbabwe. He scored a duck. Never as good in ODIs as in Tests, however his first two tons also came against Australia in 2001 and 2003. But it was the 2003-04 tour to Australia where his ODI batting reached unprecedented heights. He scored three tons in the tri-series that also involved Zimbabwe. He kept going strong in Tests, but his ODI form waned from there. He played his last ODI against South Africa at Centurion in 2006.
Laxman in numbers:
TestS: Debut vs South Africa at Ahmedabad, 1996
Matches - 134; Runs - 8,781; Avg - 45.97; 100s - 17; Top Score - 281
ODIs: Debut vs Zimbabwe at Cuttack, 1998
Matches - 81; Runs - 2,338; Avg - 30.76; 100s - 6; Top Score - 131
First Class: Debut in 1992-93
Matches - 265; Runs - 19,520; Avg - 51.5; 100s - 54; Top Score – 353