Here’s a look at some of the times we got to see the legendary Indian batsman at his absolute best, in Tests and ODIs.
148 & 81 v South Africa, Johannesburg Test, 1997
Dravid had made his Test debut the previous year, at Lord’s, and scored 95 from No.7 in his first innings even as Sourav Ganguly went on to score a century on debut. It took him till his ninth Test to get his first century, and when he did, he did it in style. It was against Allan Donald, Shaun Pollock, Brian McMillan, Lance Klusener and Paul Adams in Johannesburg – 148 runs over nine hours. He followed that up with a three-and-a-half-hour 81 as the match ended in a draw.
107 v Pakistan, Chennai ODI, 1997
He had established himself in the Test squad, but there were still question marks about Dravid in ODIs. He had played over 30 50-over games by then when he finally got to three figures. Against Pakistan at that. But before Dravid got his chance, Saeed Anwar had scored 194 in 146 balls, which meant Dravid’s 116-ball 107 went in vain. An excellent innings it was though.
145 v Sri Lanka, Taunton ODI, 1999
By 1999, Dravid had established himself in the Indian ODI side, and was keeping wickets to go with his big job of keeping the innings steady. At the ICC Cricket World Cup 1999 in England, he was in supreme touch, with his best knock coming against Sri Lanka in a group-stage match when Ganguly and he added 318 runs for the second wicket. It’s still the third-highest partnership for any wicket in ODI history. Ganguly hit 183 and, before he was run out, Dravid smashed 145 in 129 balls.
180 v Australia, Kolkata Test, 2001
One of the contenders for the greatest Test match ever played, India’s remarkable come-from-behind win was scripted in the main by VVS Laxman and Harbhajan Singh. But where would India have been had Dravid not partnered Laxman over 100-plus overs for the 376 runs they put together? Laxman hit 281, and Dravid went on to score 180 – his innings spanning almost eight-and-a-half hours.
148 v England, Leeds Test, 2002
It was perhaps India’s best batting performance in an overseas Test in that era, when Sachin Tendulkar (193), Ganguly (128) and Dravid (148) helped India amass 628/8 in their first innings. England could only make 273 and 309 to go down by an innings and 476 runs as the series ended level at 1-1. Dravid scored 45 runs fewer than Tendulkar but was still named the Player of the Match, such was the class of his effort against Matthew Hoggard, Andy Caddick and Andrew Flintoff, among others.
233 & 72* v Australia, Adelaide Test, 2003
Perhaps Dravid’s finest performance, when his 233 and 72* led India to a four-wicket win over Australia at Adelaide Oval. Anil Kumble had picked up five to bowl Australia out for 556 after the first Test had ended in a draw. But Dravid batted close to 10 hours to script a masterpiece, which took India to 523. Ajit Agarkar then returned 6/41 to roll Australia over for 196, leaving India to chase 230. India were on track most of the way, but lost one wicket too many along the way to be totally certain. But none of those wickets were of Dravid, who finished off the chase with a cut through the off-side for four off Stuart MacGill.
270 v Pakistan, Rawalpindi Test, 2004
It was an incredible phase for Dravid, when he seemed to be scoring big runs everywhere he went. So it was that he went to Pakistan in 2004 and when the series reached Rawalpindi with honours even at 1-1, he took it upon himself to give India a memorable series win. India had to bat only once, and it was largely due to Dravid’s 12-hour epic that saw him face 495 balls, hit 34 fours and a rare six. India won by an innings and 131 runs and took the series 2-1.
110 & 135 v Pakistan, Kolkata Test, 2005
The series would end at 1-1, but that was only after Pakistan had to claw back from being 1-0 down. It was in Kolkata, the scene of the 2001 Test, that Dravid led India to 407, and Pakistan ended at 393 despite centuries from Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf. Back in the middle, and this time Dravid went even better, scoring a second-innings 135 as India declared to set a target of 422. All Pakistan managed was 226.
92 v England, Bristol ODI, 2007
By this time, Dravid was smashing it in ODIs, as he was well on his way to his final tally of 10,889 runs in the format. At County Ground that day, he played a gem – 92* in 63 balls, taking India to a strong 329/7, which proved nine runs too many for England. Dravid’s innings included 11 fours and a six, and the runs were scored at 146.03 – not what many would have expected from him when he started out as a classical batsman, which he also remained till the end.
146* v England, The Oval Test, 2011
Dravid was nearing the end of his international career when India went to England in 2011, but he had one last splash lined up. In that series, he scored three centuries in four Tests – 103* at Lord’s, 117 at Edgbaston and the best of them, 146* at The Oval in the final Test. But this wasn’t going to be India’s series, despite Dravid’s best efforts, as they were swept 4-0. Opening the innings at The Oval, Dravid hit the second last of his 36 Test centuries, but Amit Mishra’s 43 from No.8 was the next best score. Mishra and Tendulkar then did their bit in the second innings, but couldn’t prevent a big defeat.
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