Former Australia captain Ian Chappell has picked VVS Laxman‘s epic knock of 281 against Australia in 2001 as the best he’s seen by a batsman against quality spin. Laxman’s 281 is regarded as one of the best Test knocks of all time, not only because it helped India win the game after being asked to follow-om but also for his effective treatment of Australia legspinner Shane Warne at the prime of his career.

Warne had dismal figures of 1/152 from 34 overs with Laxman often chipping down the wickets and lifting the ball over his head. Even when Warne came round the wicket and landed the ball in the rough, Laxman would use his silken wrists to work the ball on the onside.

“Laxman’s incredible 281 at Calcutta in 2001 is the best I’ve seen against top-class leg spin,” Chappell wrote in ESPNcricinfo.

“At the conclusion of that exhilarating series I asked Shane Warne how he thought he bowled. ‘I don’t think I bowled that badly,’ he replied. ‘You didn’t’ I responded. ‘If Laxman comes three paces out of his crease and hits an unbelievable on-drive against the spin and you then flight the next delivery a little higher and shorter to invite another drive and instead he quickly goes onto the back foot and pulls it, that’s not bad bowling. That’s good footwork.'”

Laxman was imperious throughout as he ended the Border-Gavaskar Series with 503 runs at an average of 83.83, his batting almost negating the Warne effect. When Warne attempted to stop Laxman from scoring by defensively stationing most of the fielders on the leg side and bowling outside leg stump, Laxman proceeded to skip down the pitch and drive Warne inside-out through the vacant off-side, hitting through the line of a substantially turning ball. Warne later admitted that he was clueless as to how to stop Laxman.

“Laxman regularly did this during his 452-ball stay, in which he hit 44 boundaries. Therein lies a clue to Laxman’s success: he consistently hit the ball along the ground,” Chappell said.

“Laxman’s temperament was another huge part of his successful innings. He proved on that occasion – and in many subsequent tight situations – that he could ignore the team’s dire predicament and concentrate solely on the next delivery. Laxman was a superb batsman against all bowling. His magnificent 167 at the SCG in 2000 included many powerful hooks, cuts and pulls against the pace of Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath. However, his 281 in Calcutta was a defining knock.”