Top 5 Knocks by The Wall

Rahul Dravid – what comes to your mind when you hear this name? The most underrated player throughout his career, be it as a captain or a batsman. The player who would have been more in the spotlight had played for a country like Australia or South Africa. However, there has always been the comparison between Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid on who was the better batsman of the era. Sachin Tendulkar was a great batsman, undoubtedly, while, Rahul Dravid was an artist. He was the epitome of consistency, one who redefined the need of hardwork and patience, even though most was his masterclass was overshadowed by the little master.

In terms of impact, there are very few who can match this Karnataka player widely regarded as “The Wall”. Dravid was the “trendsetter” when he started playing cricket at the international level. It was during his playing years that Indian finally lost the tag of minnows, mostly owing to his patient knocks, both at home and overseas grounds. Interestingly, Dravid had more centuries in overseas conditions than in home conditions which clearly defined the legend of this batsman. Here is a look at the top five test innings of Rahul Dravid.

(1) 233 vs Australia, Adelaide, 2003

This was one of the best innings of Rahul Dravid’s career and it had come at a time when team India was at the verge of losing the game by a big margin after Australia had posted 556 runs in their first innings at the batting paradise pitch of Adelaide.

Australia was almost certain of victory after a double hundred by Ricky Ponting (242). However, the result of the match was reversed after India’s first innings. After a flying start from Virender Sehwag, India had been reduced to 85/4 from 47/0. The duo of Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman were on the crease in an attempt to replicate the famous victory at Eden gardens in 2001.

What followed next was a statement from the most complete cricketer – a match-winning knock of 233 runs in the first innings to stun everyone. India was back in the game. Australian team was restricted to a low score in the second Innings and India went on to win the game once again by an unbeaten knock of 72 from Rahul Dravid.

(2) 148 vs South Africa, Johannesburg, 1997

It was still early days in Dravid’s career and team India’s woes in overseas conditions were at their peak. Instead, Rahul Dravid became the trendsetter who redefined this reputation.

It was the third and final test match of the series, and India was already trailing by 2-0, courtesy the pace attack of Allan Donald and Shaun Pollock who were arguably the best bowlers of that era. Rahul Dravid went onto to score his first test century and put the team into the driver’s seat. India successfully restricted hosts to a low score in the first innings. Dravid continued the momentum in the second innings too with 81 runs to help team India post a target of 356 for the hosts in the fourth innings.

The victory was almost confirmed when team India reduced the hosts to 228/8 before rain interrupted play and match was drawn in the end. However, this commanding position would not have been possible without the gritty knocks by Rahul Dravid in both the innings.

(3) 270 vs Pakistan, Rawalpindi, 2004

It was another dependable knock from The Wall when everything was on the line. The series was levelled and India asked Pakistan to bat first in the decider. Pakistan failed to post a respectable total in the first innings, and scored an average 224.

Pakistan started well with the wicket of Sehwag on the first ball. The match seemed to be in a balance when Dravid walked out to bat at the score of 129/2. He went on to register his career best score of 270, and finally lost his wicket when the scoreboard read 593/9.

With a massive lead, India did not require to bat again and registered a victory by an innings and 131 runs. Fittingly, Dravid was adjudged the Man of the Match.

(4) 148 vs England, Leeds, 2002

India was trailing by 1-0 in the series and this knock laid the foundation for the batsman. After winning the toss, India decided to bat first on the lush green surface of Leeds, deemed to be a bowling paradise with swing and bounce on offer.

Sehwag was back to the pavilion early and Dravid walked in at 8/1. He was a part of two match-winning partnerships with Sanjay Bangar and Sachin Tendulkar to put India in the driver’s seat. Although Dravid got out at 148, team India declared their first innings at 628/8.

England disappointed in their reply and lost the match by an innings and 46 runs. It was the resilience of the Wall when the ball was swinging significantly that ended up being the difference between the two sides.

(5) 222 vs New Zealand, Ahmedabad, 2003

It was the first match of the series and India decided to bat first. At 264/4 at one stage, it looked like they might be in trouble, but Rahul Dravid rose to the occasion yet again. With an innings that had his free flowing cover drives and trademark late cuts, he helped the team post 500 runs for the loss of 5 wickets before declaration. He had scored 222 runs of those, with 28 fours and one six.

New Zealand went on to score 340 runs in their first innings with a magnificent hundred from Nathan Astle (103) and a handy knock from Daniel Vettori (60). India declared their second innings at the score of 209/6 with Rahul Dravid scoring 73 of them, to set a target of 370 in the fourth innings of the match.

Nathan Astle and Craig McMillan stitched a 103 runs partnership for the 7th wicket and rescued New Zealand to draw the test match.