Rahul Dravid was probably one of the last classical Test match batsmen. The lynchpin of India’s Test match side through the 2000s, he combined technical virtuosity with a legendary work ethic and near-yogic powers of concentration and epitomized an old-school guts-before-glory approach in an age increasingly defined by flashy strokeplay and low attention spans. These are Sambit Bal’s words in ESPNCricinfo’s book on the man – Rahul Dravid: Timeless Steel.
India were 85/4 after Australia posted a massive total of 556 in the 1st inning. They needed something special to bail them out from a situation like that. All Indian eyes were stuck on to two players – Can Laxman and Dravid do it one more time?
Both men were found at the crease earlier than supposed. A match made in heaven.
VVS then, Dravid now
Full of beautiful strokes, Rahul Dravid played a stupendous inning of 233 to put his team back on track. He stood like a colossus and buried everything that was thrown at him. An absolute genius at work.
His 233 was the highest score by an Indian in Australia against Australia. Ricky Ponting did not have a great bowling attack as the trio of Glen McGrath, Brett Lee and Shane Warne was not part of the 2nd test. Take no credit away from Dravid, it was a special inning that set up yet another famous win. This time on Australian soil.
Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman made a 303 runs partnership and put the game in an even balance. India’s failings at the top were cancelled out by Dravid and Laxman.
Laxman and Dravid had frustrated Australia so much on that day, that their partnership seemed to be an encore of that 376 that had put on together at Kolkata in 2000–01. Laxman had scored a double century back then, and Dravid seemed to be on the cusp of another one. In fact, when Ricky Ponting was asked at the end of the previous day whether Dravid and Laxman’s partnership brought back memories of Kolkata 2000–01, Ponting was reported to have said, “I didn’t want to think of that.”
Laxman fell to Bichel when he was on 148. India made 523. Just 33 runs short of the Aussies. It was all set for a draw until Australia got hit by Ajit Agarkar’s earth-shattering spell. He picked 6 wickets and Australia got all out for 196.
Dravid batted like ‘God’ – Ganguly
Chasing a target of 233, Dravid again showed his true class and grit. He finished the game with an unbeaten knock of 72 in 2nd innings hitting the winning runs. India won the test by 4 wickets.
The similarity between the two tests (Kolkata and Adelaide) is staggering.
At the end of the game, Ganguly said – “Rahul batted like God”. To which Dravid replied with a laugh – “I am no god. It is satisfying to score a hundred in Australia.”
This was classic Rahul Dravid. Strikingly humble. As always.