The five best innings by Rahul Dravid
The retirement of Rahul Dravid from international cricket brought the curtain down on one of the finest cricketing careers. Dravid had been the bulwark of Indian batting in Test matches from last 15 years and orchestrated some of India’s most remarkable victories both at home turf as well as overseas. In his glittering international career, spanning one and a half decade, he ran up a slew of attainments both on and off the field. His tally of 13, 288 runs in the Test matches is the second highest ever in the annals of Test matches, after Sachin Tendulkar. He cracked 36 Test centuries, most of which came when India were under the cosh, and he grabbed 210 catches in Test matches, highest by any Test cricketer.
Sir Vivian Richards said, “I find Rahul Dravid most stylish. In boxing parlance, he gets his punches without anyone noticing it. At the end of it, his opponent is bruised.” He holds the distinction of being the first batsman to score Test centuries in all the ten Test playing nations.
Dravid was a fierce competitor on-the-field, but a true-blue gentleman off-the-field. Brett Lee captured the essence of Dravid’s personality when he said, “He’s a phenomenal batsman and a wonderful human being. If you don’t get along with Dravid, you’re struggling in life.” It’s an opportune time to look back at some of the illuminating innings unleashed by The Great Wall of India.
India vs Australia – 2nd Test, Eden Gardens, Kolkata (2001)
Rahul Dravid was a man with penchant for history. He added another chapter of his name in the record books of cricket when he knocked off 180 runs against the then world champions Australia, who were riding high on the crest by winning 16 Test matches in row, at the historic Eden Gardens in Kolkata in 2000-01. But their untrammeled victory chariot was brought to a screeching halt by the genius of Dravid and VVS Laxman.
After losing the first Test at Mumbai, India were on the cusp of being pummeled by the Australian team in the second Test as well. India were skittled for 171 runs in their first innings in response to Australia’s 445 runs and were asked to follow on. India were 4-254 runs in their second innings at the end of the third day’s play and even the most optimist Indian fan wouldn’t have thought that India would save the Test, leave alone winning.
But in a fairy tale of sorts, Dravid and Laxman engineered a record 376-run stand. Having been demoted to number six in the second innings from his favourite position of one down, Dravid took the challenge head on and demonstrated immense character and application to keep the Australia at bay. Dravid was unwell in the lead up to that Test match and was battling a viral. Upon reaching his hundred he, in an unusual Dravid manner, he pointed his bat animatedly at the press box to the people who were questioning his place in the side.
Dravid wasn’t in the greatest of forms and Shane Warne was claiming to have a sway over Dravid after dismissing him a couple of times in the series. But, Dravid gave a trenchant riposte to all his detractors and exerted his sublime class. Dravid’s innings was tad over-shadowed by Laxman’s heroics but in no way, Dravid’s innings was any lesser than that of Laxman.
India declared at 7-657 and gave Australia a total of 384 runs to chase in the last two sessions of the final day of the Test. A spirited bowling heist by Harbhajan Singh saw Australia bundling out for just 212 and India won the Test match by 171 runs.
The 5 best innings by Dravid:
- 1. 180 vs Australia – 2nd test at Kolkata in 2001
- 2. 148 vs England – 3rd test at Headingley in 2002
- 3. 233 vs Australia – 2nd test at Adelaide Oval in 2004
- 4. 270 vs Pakistan – 3rd test at Rawalpindi in 2004
- 5. 81 and 68 vs West Indies – 4th test at Jamaica in 2006
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