Indian Cricket’s The Wall, Rahul Dravid celebrates his 45th birthday today. Affectionately called Jammy, Dravid was a true statesman of the game. In a career spanning more than 15 years, Dravid represented India in 164 Tests and and 344 ODIs along with a a lone T20 international. He scored 13,288 Test runs at an average of 52.31 and 10,889 ODI runs at an average of 39.16.
Throughout the years, Dravid, with his solid defense, headstrong attitude and impeccable technique, played some of the most memorable innings for Team India. A fighter in his own right, Dravid was described as ‘the wolf who lived for the pack’ by commentator Harsha Bhogle. And rightly so.
On his birthday, we recall some the greatest innings played by the great batsmen.
233 vs Australia, Adelaide, 2003
Following a dogged effort from Team India to draw the fisr Test at Brisbane, led by Sourav Ganguly’s ton, the tone for a thrilling contest at Adelaide was set.
Aussies won the toss and elected to bat first without hesitation, posing a huge total of 556 on the scoreboard.
Despite Sehwag’s breezy 47, India were reduced to 85-4 from 66-0 when Dravid walked in. Ponting’s team were already smelling victory.
But a defiant Dravid, against the backdrop of a lush green field and golden sunshine at the Adelaide Oval, began India’s resurrection along with VVS Laxman.
Dravid, mixed defense with aggression, smacking bowlers all across, setting the tone for an Indian victory. And then guiding them there with a fluent unbeaten 72 in a fourth innings chase.
180 vs Australia, Kolkata, 2001
Bundled out for 171 in response to their 445, India were put in to follow-on by Steve Waugh’s Aussies.
Having lost 4 wickets for 232 runs, a defeat looked on the cards. But Dravid built a solid partnership with Laxman, providing him the best possible support he could ask for.
While Laxman was the hero of the match, Dravid’s contribution was secondary to none.
With a 600+ second innings total, India turned the match around on its head to register one of the greatest comeback victories in Test cricket.
270 vs Pakistan, Rawalpindi, 2004
With the series level at 1-1, the third Test was set to be a thrilling contest between arch rivals India and Pakistan.
After dismissing Pakistan for a paltry 224 in the first innings, India had a poor start with Sehwag dismissed for a duck. But in came Dravid to register his highest Test score, amassing 270 from 495 balls, setting up an innings victory for India.
148 vs England, Leeds, 2002
After two Tests, India were down 1-0 in the series, playing for a victory at Headingley to draw the series.
With a surprise decision to bat first on a green top, India had a poor start.
But once again, Rahul Dravid dealt with English pacers’ swing and bounce to take India to a formidable first innings score, setting the tone for Tendulkar’s 193 and Ganguly’s 128 as well.
India won the match, drawing a thrilling series.
145 vs Sri Lanka, Taunton, 1999
After opener Sadagopan Ramesh fell in the first over, Dravid joined Sourav Ganguly on a track friendly for both seamers and spinners. With some classy cover drives and effective pull shots, Dravid combined with Ganguly in what was the first time when a pair added 300 plus runs for any wicket in the history of ODI cricket. After adding 318 runs for the 2nd wicket, Dravid was out for 145 runs, among his greatest innings in limited overs cricket.