One of India’s finest cricketers, Rahul Dravid celebrates his birthday today. He is one of the only two Indian batsmen to join the 13,000-runs club. As a tribute to the legend, lovingly called ‘The Wall’, Shayne D’souza lists Dravid’s memorable innings from his still-booming illustrious career.
180, Vs Australia, Kolkata, (2001)
The Eden Gardens will always remember this priceless innings by Rahul Dravid. After following on, the pressure was on India with a packed stadium of cheering fans. Things were looking bleak for the Indian side. But when Dravid is still at the crease you never use the world ‘bleak’.
Partnering another great Indian batsman in the form of VVS Laxman, Dravid put on an outstanding show of Test batting. The duo put up a record 376-run partnership to not only leave the Aussies stunned but also deflated. Not to be overshadowed by Laxman’s top class innings of 281, Dravid played second fiddle and showed us why he’s considered to be up there with the very best in Test cricket with a determined 180 to take India to an outrageous victory.
270, Vs Pakistan, Rawalpindi (2004)
Every battle is fierce, but when it comes to India-Pakistan matches, things get hotter. This match was the crucial decider of the series and a good start was just what the then captain Sourav Ganguly wanted and who better to lay trust on than ‘The Wall’. Rahul Dravid shone like a star and scored an outstanding 270 to give India a huge advantage with a 600 par score in the first innings. He batted like a true champion against top quality quick bowlers who gave their all. But they still couldn’t dislodge the champion batsmen who batted with grit, determination and guts on a pitch that wasn’t so responsive to the batsmen.
233, Vs Australia, Adelaide (2004)
After Australia amassed a massive 556 in their first innings, the pressure was on the Indians to give back a fitting reply to the Aussies and with bowlers like Gillispie, Williams and Bichel steaming in at their best it wasn’t going to be easy. But then again for Rahul Dravid nothing is impossible. After losing early wickets Dravid stood firm with VVS Laxman and scored a brilliant 233 to take India within close range of the Australian score. He followed that up with a gritty 72 in the second innings to take India to a comfortably and well-fought victory.
103*, Vs England, Lords (July 2011)
The reason I’ve put this innings up as one of Rahul Dravid’s best is because he gave the other batsmen a lesson in temperament. On a tough Lord’s pitch when every other Indian batsman failed to make an impression, Rahul Dravid showed us why he’s rightfully called ‘The Wall’. True to this tag line he stood firm like a rock and showed that Test cricket isn’t all about smashing the ball around the ground but requires skill, patience and a lot of focus.
145, Vs Sri Lanka, Taunton (May 26, 1999)
After losing to South Africa, India needed to win this game to qualify for the supers sixes stage of the 1999 World Cup. India lost Sadagoppan Ramesh early and the pressure was on Dravid to lead India to a respectable total. Swatting the cricket ball to all corners (so to speak) of the County Ground, Dravid amassed a staggering 145 (at a strike rate of 112.40) which led to India achieving a massive target of 373/6. Dravid also put up 318, which is the highest second-wicket partnership with Sourav Ganguly in this game.
109, Vs West Indies, Ahmadabad (2002)
Riding high on Chris Gayle’s 140, West Indies posted a staggering 329 in the fourth ODI Vs India. India was already a game down and needed to win this one to keep the series alive. Chasing this huge score, India suffered two setbacks in the form of Sehwag and Ganguly. Dravid once again proved what a valuable player he is with this classy innings of 109 to take India to a special victory.
104, Vs Pakistan, Kochi (2005)
It was the first game of the 2005 home series against Pakistan and as always the expectations were riding high for a win. Winning the toss India elected to bat. After losing Sachin and Sehwag early, Dravid joined Ganguly and he outplayed the Pakistani bowlers with determination and grit with his brilliant 104 off 199 balls. He made sure that India put up a challenging game and also proved that class is permanent.
123, Vs New Zealand, Owen Delany Park (1999)
India had never fared well in seeming conditions. This was the first match of the ODI series against New Zealand on their home turf and India had lost Sachin for a duck. Rahul Dravid stood up to be counted and taught the other batsmen a lesson in playing the seaming ball by hitting this brilliant century (123 at a strike rate of one run per ball) in unfamiliar conditions. Dravid was named ‘Man of the Match’ for his efforts. This innings was also crucial in transforming him as an ODI batsman.