Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Top 5 cricketing moments of Indian Test Cricket : Batting (2)

I am 23. I belong to a generation who started watching cricket around world cup 1996. The first article was I read was about how the WC 1996 was marked by the three greatest batsmen of the decade – Sachin Tendulkar, Mark Waugh and Brian Lara; Spin Bowling was dominated by the trio of Anil Kumble, Mushtaq Ahmed and Shane Warne. All the memories for cricket start from there for me. Me and bunch of the greatest cricket fans, cricket has ever seen has come up with the top moments of Indian cricket. This is first in the series: Top 5 moments of Indian Test cricket: batting. We have taken only the matches after 1996 into consideration because we haven’t watched anything of cricket before 96. We might have missed, we might be wrong but this is what we think. Enjoy guys. This is second in the series.

Top 5 cricketing moments of Indian Test Cricket : Batting

2. Rahul Dravid 233 and 72* v/s Australia, Adelaide, December, 2003

No team in the world can think of loosing a test match after scoring 556 in first inning, Australia had done the same.

Having watched helplessly as Australia piled up 400 for 5 on the opening day, going on to reach a daunting first-innings total of 556, in which Ricky Ponting made a brilliant 242, India's captain, Ganguly, was himself a casualty - run out for two - as the tourists' reply wobbled precariously at 85 for 4.
But India turned the match around with a 303-run partnership between their vice-captain, Dravid (233), and VVS Laxman (148),

Bichel struck three vital blows. He bowled straight to a canny, defensive field set by Waugh and India slumped from 66 without loss to 85 for four when Ganguly was run out. Laxman joined Dravid. It took Australia 94 overs to separate them. It was not quite Kolkata; there, they had added 376 for the fifth wicket, here it was a mere 303.

This time, it was Dravid's turn to score the double-hundred. He simply played everything on its merits, leaving every ball that carried the threat of an edge alone, while taking advantage of every scoring opportunity. After he played himself in, his cover driving was sublime, and the only time he was in danger of getting out was when he top-edged a hook off Gillespie. But it sailed over backward square leg and brought up his hundred

India did not look back and scored 523 in reply of Australia’s first inning with the help of Dravid and Laxman. Dravid was again rock solid in his 233 with 23 fours and one six. Australia collapsed in their second inning to 196 and India were given a target of 232.

The final day was as engrossing as any you could wish to see. Each time India appeared to be cruising, Australia would fight back. Every batsman got a start, but only Dravid stayed on, combining limpet-like adhesion with unflappable temperament. With the pressure on, it was Australia that cracked. Laxman's breezy 32 sealed it, but it was fitting that the last act belonged to Dravid, who had done a Waugh in the great man's final series.

When MacGill pitched one short and wide of off stump, Rahul Dravid gave himself room and cut hard. As it sped across the outfield towards the fence in front of the George Giffen stand, he let out a yell of delight. As the team poured on to the field to celebrate coming back to win after conceding 400 for 5 on the opening day, Steve Waugh jogged across to pick up the ball. Once he did, he presented it to Dravid, whose 72 not out had glued together a run chase that was anything but straightforward.

Less than three years after decimating Australian hopes with a 376-run stand at Eden Gardens, Dravid and VVS Laxman had added 303, albeit at a more sedate pace. The circumstances when they came together had been similarly dire, with India reeling at 85 for 4 after the openers had cruised to 66.

Dravid once again stood rock solid to get India clinch the match. He was declared the “Man of the match” and not to forget he was also the “Man of the series”. Everybody sees the architectural beauty but no one thinks about the foundation which gives the strength to the building.

Foundation is the very reason for the building to be in standing position on the first place. Dravid is the foundation of the Team. It was one of those inning in which he was not the man behind the scene. He was the protagonist of this victory. A rare occasion when everybody noticed him. But I guess it doesn’t matter to him. He likes to play the game for the sheer love of it. How many do you think are left now??


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