Rahul Dravid had been one of India’s most consistent batsman, as far as Test cricket is concerned. He started off as a middle order batsman, opened the innings too at times, and finally etched his name in the number three spot. More than an esoteric batsman, the right hander has rightly earned the ‘match winner’ tag in the longest format of the game.
Let’s have a look Rahul Dravid’s top 5 dazzling innings, wherein he turned the pendulum single handedly.
5. 95 VS ENG, 1996
This match is remembered for a couple of golden debuts. One was Sourav Ganguly who shook the cricketing world by having smashed an ecstatic century. Rahul Dravid was another who was playing alongside Ganguly to have stitched a historic 94-run partnership in the 1st innings against England at Lord’s. The emphatic innings was studded with a bunch of drives and punches all around the ground. However, the naive Karnataka batsman fell short of 5 runs to register what would have been a magnificent ton. Although, Dravid’s spectacular innings was overshadowed by Ganguly’s incredible hundred, the duo emerged as India’s finest batsmen in the coming years.
4. 270 VS PAK
By the mid-2000s era, Dravid had cemented his place in the top order in both the formats. His impact in Test cricket was pivotal though. Virender Sehwag had been the highlight of the India-Pakistan series in 2004, having smashed a triple century in the 1st Test at Multan, which India won comfortably. Pakistan defeated India in the 2nd Test at Lahore by 9 wickets to have leveled the series 1-1. Batting first, Pakistan were bundled out for 224 in the first innings of final Test at Rawalpindi. Shoaib Akhtar dismissed Sehwag on the very first ball. In came Rahul Dravid and batted for 12 hours in scorching heat to have put Indian into driving seat. Having thwacked 270 off 495 balls, he anchored the Indian innings which ended on 600. India won the match by an innings and 131 runs, having clinched the series 2-1.
3. 103* VS ENG
India won the toss and elected to field in the first of 4-match Test series at Lord’s. England declared the innings on 474 for the loss of 8 wickets, Pietersen being the double centurion. Indian openers fell cheaply and Dravid once again had a mountain to climb. Dravid’s place in the team ahead of England’s tour was shrouded by dark clouds as the veteran was towards the end of his career. This was certainly his last Test at Lord’s. Besides, Dravid rescued the team as he thumped his first ever century at Lord’s, what would have been a due task since his debut. He was the third highest scorer of the series, despite India’s humiliating white wash.
2. 180 VS AUS
A Test that emanated a flurry of milestones. Mighty Australia were 1-0 ahead of India in the three match Test series. The second Test at Kolkata created history as India won the match, after a follow-on being imposed by Australia. The entire Indian unit were dismissed at 171 in reply of Australia’s gigantic 445 runs on score board. Having enforced the follow-on Australia removed the Indian openers under the 100-run mark. Laxman was sent in at number 3 and a couple of dismals brought Dravid to the crease. The duo rocketed the score from 232 to 608 until McGarth got rid of Laxman who scored 281. Dravid later got run out on 180. Another incredible knock and yet again his innings was obscured by Laxman’s heroic. Later, Harbhajan’s stupendous hattrick paved the way for one of the greatest turnarounds in the history of Test cricket.
1. 233, 72* VS AUS
Skipper Ganguly’s mesmerizing ton against Australia in the 1st Test at Brisbane was a clear statement that the Indian side wouldn’t be laid back. Ricky Ponting straightaway elected to bat on a flat Adelaide wicket, which favoured the batsmen. Ponting disarrayed the Indian bowlers, having taken Australia’s score to 556. India were reduced to 81-2 when Rahul Dravid came in. While, Dravid held the traction for a while, Sachin Tendulkar fell in a flash, followed by Ganguly. How often do you see history being repeated, especially with a pandemonium? Well, Dravid-Laxman didn’t learn to stop anyway, provided by another assertive 303-run stand. This time, Dravid whole heartedly ripped the heart out of Australian bowling line up. India managed to post 523 on score board. Ajit Agarkar’s 6-wicket haul in the 2nd innings clogged the hosts on 196. India required 233 runs to get ahead in the series. “Cometh the hour, cometh the champion.” Perhaps, India stumbled through the mid-way, Dravid single handedly won a voracious game for team India, having scored 72*.