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Rahul Dravid's five gems in Test cricket

Last updated on: March 10, 2012 08:15 IST

'I have failed at times, but I never stopped trying'

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Manu Shankar

As the cricket world salutes the great Karnataka batsman on his retirement, Manu Shankar looks back on five Test knocks that are, arguably, his best.

He is addressed by several names. For his friends, he is Jammy; for the opposition, 'The Wall', and for teammates, 'Mr. Dependable'.

As the man sat down for his final bow in Bangalore, one quote summed up his life, and passion. 'I have failed at times, but I never stopped trying.' 

Ladies and gentlemen, that's Rahul Dravid.

The second most prolific batsman in Test history, and India's middle order warhorse for years, walked into the sunset on Friday, bringing down the curtain on a glorious 16-year career.



Image: Rahul Dravid


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'Dravid is at the crease, why worry'

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The 39-year-old is the one of the first of the so-called 'ageing greats' in Indian cricket -- Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman being the others -- to retire in the aftermath of India's disastrous Test tour of Australia.

An honest go-getter who never stops trying, he's one who doesn't hide under excuses and lets his performance do the talking.

Be it be the epic 180 in the famous Kolkata Test versus the Aussies, the 145 in the 1999 World Cup versus the Sri Lankans, or the patient 148 at Headingley in 2002 against England, Dravid was a player for all seasons.

They say, well begun is half done. In Dravid's case, it was evident right from the start of what was a shining career. A brilliant 95 on debut at Lord's, where he and Sourav Ganguly performed the rescue act for India.

Since then, he was the country's most reliable batsman. Such was his aura that incase India were to lose an early wicket, fans would say, 'Dravid is at the crease, why worry'.


Image: Rahul Dravid


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Wonder at Wanderers

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As the cricket world salutes the great Karnataka batsman on his retirement, rediff.com looks back on five Test knocks that are, arguably, his best. 

148 vs South Africa 1997

It was a maiden Test century for Rahul Dravid. And a special one at that.

After having made his mark at Lord's (on debut), when he missed out on a ton by just five runs, it took Dravid a little more than a year to score his first ton.

It was the perfect stage. The Wanderers in Johannesburg. The likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Mohammad Azharuddin and company were struggling against the hostile home attack, featuring the likes of Allan Donald, Lance Klusener and Shaun Pollock.

It took a patient hundred from Dravid, coupled with an equally vital 81 in the second innings, to ensure India a draw from a precarious position.


Image: Rahl Dravid


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Greatest knock of his career

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180 vs Australia 2001

Perhaps, the greatest knock of his career.

With India down in the dumps after being made to follow-on, Dravid joined hands with VVS Laxman to etch an unforgettable innings.

India were 274 runs in arrears when Australian skipper Steve Waugh decided to enforce the follow-on.

Dravid was struggling on that tour and shunted down to number six, and Laxman promoted up the order. He battled cramps and dehydration while playing the support role in 376-run stand for the fifth wicket with Laxman.

India put up 657-7 and then dismissed the Aussies for 212 to pull off an unbelievable victory, by 171 runs.


Image: Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman


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Challenging knock

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148 vs England 2002

This was one of the most challenging knocks he scored.

After Sourav Ganguly won the toss and elected to bat on a seaming track at Headingley, Virender Sehwag was packed off cheaply.

It was left to Dravid to perform the rescue act. Sanjay Bangar gave him adequate support as India won the Test by an innings.


Image: Rahul Dravid


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Double ton in Aussie backyard

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233 vs Australia 2003 

Australia it was again, two years later in their own backyard.

The Aussies, riding on a Ricky Ponting double (242) put on 556 before reducing India to 85 for 4.

This time it was Laxman who played second fiddle, walking in at No. 5, as the duo put on another memorable partnership to crash on Australia's party.

India won by four wickets and levelled the series.

Dravid's brilliant 233 was the turning point of the match and series.


Image: Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman


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Historic series win in Pakistan

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270 vs Pakistan 2004

This is one of those knocks an Indian fan will enjoy the most. With the series locked 1-1, both teams came to Rawalpindi for the decider.

India dismissed the hosts for 224, but lost Virender Sehwag to the first ball of the innings.

Dravid had not done much in the series. He expectedly started off slowly, but soon got into the groove, scoring what eventually turned out to be a Test best.

The visitors put on 600 on the board and then Kumble ran through Pakistan's lower order to hand India a historic series win.


Image: Rahul Dravid


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