Bangalore: It was the fortnight before Christmas. India were playing Australia at Adelaide in 2003, in a game quite rightly remembered as Rahul Dravid's Test. Historically poor chasers, who could not handle the pressure of batting well in the fourth innings, India had a wobble while going for victory. At 170 for 4, with the target still 60 runs away, the scenario was ripe for another implosion and heart-breaking loss.
Except, the man who walked in at number six didn't seem to have been told of India's historical frailty. At one end, Dravid was holding fort, but for a brief passage of play in that fourth innings chase, it was all about VVS Laxman. He ended up hitting 32 off 34 balls - rarely has a cameo been worth more.
Laxman did that to you. To the most hardened sports writers, or even number-crunchers - he made numbers superfluous. In so many matches, at so many crucial points, Laxman walked in for India, seized the moment, made it his own, and left the match indelibly altered, even if the innings itself didn't become a classic.