March 11 is a historic day in Indian cricket and Harbhajan Singh‘s career. On this day in 2001, the spinner became the first Indian bowler to take a hattrick in Test cricket. He achieved the feat in during the second Test match of a three-match series at the Eden Gardens, in Kolkata. After losing the first fixture, India staged a turnaround and won the other two matches to win the series. Taking to Twitter, the 40-year-old posted a throwback photo from the match and captioned it as, “Moment which changed my life #Hattrick #Grateful @BCCI”.
— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) March 11, 2021
Australia had won the first Test match by 10 wickets, at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Aiming to build on their fine form, the visitors elected to bat on Day 1 of the second Test match in Kolkata.
Australia put in a fine start, with Matthew Hayden missing out on a century after scoring 97 runs. Harbhajan turned the tide towards India’s side after the visitors scored 252 runs with only three balls. In the first ball, he took the wicket of Ricky Ponting with a straight delivery. Ponting could only shuffle, failing to connect with the ball completely and was trapped plumb.
After the dismissal of Ponting, Adam Gilchrist, who scored a century in the first Test match, walked into bat. But his time on the pitch was restricted to a single delivery, with the ball hitting his back leg.
For his hattrick delivery, Harbhajan was up against Shane Warne, who was surrounded by Indian fielders. Warne guided the delivery onto the on side, where Sadagoppan Ramesh put in an excellent dive to send Warne back to the pavilion.
After the three historic deliveries, Australia were crushed to 252 for seven.
Harbhajan ended up with seven wickets during Australia’s first innings. Other than Ponting, Gilchrist and Warne, he registered the dismissals of Matthew Hayden, Mark Waugh, Steve Waugh and Jason Gillespie.
The epic match also saw VVS Laxman (281) and Rahul Dravid (180) stitch together a 376-run partnership, with India scripting a stunning victory.
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