The Wall stands firm again

The Wall stands firm again

Dravids 32nd Test ton was the cornerstone of Indias second innings

Karnataka State Cricket Association set a benchmark while unveiling a wall at the M Chinnaswamy stadium on October, 6, 2008, honouring Dravid’s phenomenal efforts. Seldom a tribute so loudly proclaimed the virtues of a cricketer, collected and immovable in any situations.

There was a situation for Dravid to negate on Wednesday on the third day of the opening Test against the West Indies, and the Bangalorean displayed the qualities that prompted the building of the wall. It was also a rare occasion when an active player vindicated the existence of a tribute. VVS Laxman’s dismissal had reduced India to 57 for three, and the prize-fighter in Dravid surfaced.

The third highest run-getter in the history of cricket never tried to dominate the attack with fancied shots; instead he wore down the opposition patiently.

“I love the contest. It’s because I love the contest I still enjoy the sport. It’s good for me because I found myself against the wall, and I had to fight my way through it. I need to keep my concentration going, and I knew I had to do the job after we were 50-odd for three.

“The entire situation helped me to tune my focus in the right direction. I was in a good space throughout this innings. I felt balanced and in control of things even when the score was not moving,” said Dravid.

The epic effort -- played over six hours and 274 balls -- saw Dravid at his self-denial best. A batsman capable of unadulterated elegance, Dravid didn’t play a single aerial shot till his personal score reached 85, consuming 229 balls. It was an effort that would have pleased a hermit with its single-mindedness.

Hard on body

The knock would also have been hard on his body that saw 38 passing summers. Dravid admitted it. “It was tough physically, especially coming off after a long journey. It was pretty hot out there, and I have not played a Test match for a long time.

“You can do as much training as possible, sit on a bike in the gym, and run laps around the ground. But the whole batting fitness, fielding fitness…you need to have practice. If you do it consistently then you’ll get sort of rhythm. With this kind of breaks from the game, it takes some more time to get into rhythm.

“So, it’s not easy for someone like me who needs to bat long for runs, and I sweat a lot as well. So, physically and mentally it was a good contest, and that’s why I work hard on my fitness. Fortunately, I have the past experience to fall back upon,” Dravid said.

Dravid, in fact, is no stranger to hazard management. He had to go through a furious spell by Allan Donald and Shaun Pollock before notching up his maiden Test hundred in Johannesburg in 1996. “I thought at first that the spell by Donald and Pollock was really tough, and I won’t able to play it. I had to grit my teeth, and fight my way out of it.”  

Top-3 scorers in Tests
* Sachin Tendulkar: Matches: 177; Runs: 14,692; Highest: 248*; Average: 56.94; 100s: 51; 50s: 59.

* Ricky Ponting: Matches: 152; Runs: 12,363; Highest: 257; Average: 53.51; 100s: 39; 50s: 56.

* Rahul Dravid: Matches: 151; Runs: 12,215; Highest: 270; Average: 52.65; 100s: 32; 50s: 59.

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