Laxman vows to increase misery of Australia
Australia's old nemesis on the filed, Indian batsman VVS Laxman, has said he is ready to do it all over again in what is almost certain to be his last Test tour Down Under.
In 25 Tests against the Australians, Laxman averages 55.58, and that includes his epic innings of 281 scored at Kolkata in March 2001 that inspired India to a famous victory after following on.
In his 11 Tests in Australia, Laxman has scored four memorable centuries, including three (167, 178 and 109) at the SCG.
"You always want to prove yourself against the toughest opposition. Most of the Australian teams I've played against had some great players, and it was a challenge to take them on.
It has always brought the best out of me," he told WISDEN Extra.
Where other Indian batsmen have struggled to cope with the extra bounce, Laxman has thrived with his ability to drive off the back foot and pull in front of square.
"I've always enjoyed pitches where the ball comes on to the bat, where there's pace and bounce. Australian grounds also tend to have fast outfields where you get full value for your shots," he said.
But going into the Boxing Day Test Laxman will have a point to prove as he averages a lowly 18.50 from three matches at the MCG, with a highest score of just 42.
And while Michael Clarke's new-look Australia may have dropped down the world rankings, there's no hint of complacency from Laxman as he looks ahead to his final tour of the country.
"Their (Australia's) fighting spirit and the refusal to give up make them the toughest opponents. They'll not give you anything easily. Even at Under-19 level, it was that way.
They were very aggressive and they were quick to identify your weaknesses," he said.
Laxman's affection for cricket in Australia goes back as far as his schooldays: "As a young boy, I used to wake up early in the morning to watch cricket from Australia, when we had a telecast, and I loved to listen to the likes of Richie Benaud, Bill Lawry and Ian Chappell give insights about the game. To actually make runs there was something special," he recalled.