Rahul Dravid is regarded as the greatest #3 that has ever played the game for India. The contributions of this Indore-born batsman is unmatched, especially when it comes to some of India’s triumphs overseas. Adelaide, Headingley or Rawalpindi, mention any of India’s famous away victories and it is likely Rahul Dravid had a major role to play in it.
To celebrate what will always be known as one of the greatest careers in the game, we look back at his best performances.
5) 2/43 vs South Africa, Kochi (2000)
This is an unusual entry, but one that deserves a mention.
Rahul Dravid did bowl for India on a few occasions, and had picked up five international wickets. Among them, was a game changing spell in Kochi against South Africa in 2000. Herschelle Gibbs and Gary Kirsten had torn apart the bowling, smashing 235 in under 40 overs, with both the openers going on to score centuries. While Gibbs was dismissed for 111, Kirsten was still at the other end, set and looking to capitalise on the lacklustre bowling. Dravid had bowled four overs in his first spell, and did well to curtail the run-flow. But his second spell proved to be the turning point in the game, as the 43rd over yielded two wickets, the centurion Gary Kirsten and the dangerous Lance Klusener. South Africa, who looked like getting 350-plus, had to settle with 301 in their 50 overs. Heroics from Ajay Jadeja and Robin Singh helped India seal an emphatic win in the last over. A victory that may not have been possible, if it weren’t for those two scalps by Rahul Dravid.
4) 95 on Debut at Lord’s (1996)
Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly entered the Test arena together, and gave the world a glimpse of what the future would hold for Indian cricket. The Calcutta-born made his mark on the day and the Lord’s Honours Board, scoring a century on debut. At the other end, was another youngster playing elegant cover drives and flicks off his pads. Dravid went on to help India push their first innings score past 400, before he finally edged one to wicketkeeper Alec Stewart. Unfortunately, he fell just five runs short of scoring a hundred on debut. His 95 runs came from 267 balls, which included only six boundaries. He may not have got his century in 1996, but he finally got to the Honours Board in 2011, when he hit his 33rd international century at the age of 38.
3) 145 vs Sri Lanka at Taunton (1999)
To a certain extent, the tag of ‘The Wall’ has done a disservice to Rahul Dravid’s image as an ODI batsman. On his day, he was a great player and was capable of the occasional onslaught, prime example being his amazing knock against Sri Lanka in the 1999 World Cup. He, along with Sourav Ganguly were at their aggressive best against Arjuna Ranatunga’s side, putting together a massive 318-run partnership for the second wicket. While Ganguly went on to score 183, Dravid scored 145 on the day, with 14 boundaries and one six. India finished at 373/6, their highest score at the time. It was a tough ask for the defending champions, and they were bowled out for just 216.
2) 270 vs Pakistan at Rawalpindi (2004)
Any victory over Pakistan is important, but a series win away is one for the history books. Rahul Dravid wrote that chapter. An innings under pressure, India’s #3 delivered an incredible double hundred in the third Test at Rawalpindi. Coming in to bat from the second ball of the innings, the 31 year-old took India’s score from 0 to 593, batting for nearly six sessions! His marathon knock included 34 boundaries and one six, thanks to which India were able to post a lead of 376 in their first innings. The daunting lead proved to be too much for Pakistan to overcome as they were bowled out for 245 on Day 4. India won the Test match by an innings and 131 runs and deservingly so, Dravid was awarded the player of the match.
1) 233 and 72* vs Australia at Adelaide (2003)
Probably Rahul Dravid’s greatest contribution to India – an away victory against a formidable Australian side.
The pair that defied Steve Waugh’s men at Eden Gardens in 2001, got together again to stage the rescue act in Adelaide. Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman scored 303 runs amongst them, with the former being the dominant batsman on this occasion. Dravid batted for nearly four session in the first innings, and went on to score his fourth double century. India fell short by 33 runs of Australia’s massive first innings score of 556, but an inspired performance by Ajit Agarkar in the second innings (6/41) resulted in the home side adding just 196 to their lead. Fittingly, Dravid led India to victory in the run-chase, scoring an unbeaten 72. He smashed a short delivery towards point to bring an end to the match, and register what is regarded as India’s most famous win abroad.