Laxman relieved after reaching ton

At the Eden Gardens in the second Test against the West Indies, Laxman snapped a run of 16 Tests without a century, making a fluid unbeaten 176. It was his fifth at the venue – the most alongside Mohammad Azharuddin – and Laxman’s average of 110.63 here is the third best by any batsman at one venue, after Don Bradman’s 128.53 at the MCG and Greg Chappell’s 111.77 at the Gabba in Brisbane.

“It was a relief to get a hundred,” said Laxman of his 17th ton, putting him joint sixth in the list of century-makers for India, alongside Dilip Vengs­arkar. “My last hundred was against Sri Lanka at P Sara, where the team was under tremendous pressure. After that, I have played knocks in pressure situations. Luckily, in this Test, the position wasn’t very challenging when I went in but it was important for us to build a partnership, and that’s what Rahul and I tried to do.

“It was important to get a big score in the first innings specially seeing the nature of the wicket which will deteriorate on the third and fourth days. It was satisfying to get a hundred after a long gap. Even though I had some valuable 50s under my belt, it is always satisfying to get a hundred.”

Continuing on the theme of making runs without the team being in trouble, Laxman went on, “That’s one of the challenges I have. When Paddy Upton was the mental conditioner, we tried various strategies on how to get the best out of me in a situation where the team is not under a lot of pressure. This is the first time in a long time where the team is not in a difficult or challenging position and I have got a hundred.”

Laxman has a whopping 1217 runs in 10 Tests at the Eden. “I have always enjoyed playing here. It’s a great ground with a lot of history. Though there were not a lot of spectators in this Test, generally the fans make it special, the people of Kolkata make it special. It is a special ground for all of us.”

His epochal 281 against Australia will remain his best knock ever, but Laxman refused to be drawn into a debate on which of the others he enjoyed the most. “Any knock where you contribute to the team is always good. I rate any knock which helps the team win the game more valuable than making runs in a losing cause.”

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