Rahul Dravid turns 50: A look at The Wall's finest knocks in Tests

When one thinks about Dravid's greatest knocks, it is hard to go past his 180-run innings against Australia at the Eden Gardens in 2001.
Rahul Dravid
Rahul DravidANI

NEW DELHI: Team India head coach Rahul Dravid, commonly known as 'The Wall', is renowned for weathering the storm and helping his side turn the tables after being completely down and out.

As the former Indian skipper celebrates his 50th birthday on Wednesday, let's have a look at some of his finest knocks in international cricket.

When one thinks about Dravid's greatest knocks, it is hard to go past his 180-run innings against Australia at the Eden Gardens in 2001. This knock by the batter is still viewed as one of the grittiest knocks in the longest format of the game.

Australia was in the driver's seat for the majority of the game and the match was a must-win for India after losing the first Test. Australians were in total control at the Eden Gardens as they enforced the follow-on.

India was bowled out for 171 in response to Australia's 445 in the first innings. The Indian openers were dismissed in the second innings, and it was then that Dravid and VVS Laxman came to the rescue.

Nobody could have predicted that the two would go on to generate a "miracle" for the team. Both batters went on to score 376 runs in a row. Laxman and Dravid annihilated Australia's bowling attack, which included Shane Warne and Glenn Mcgrath.

Another knock is his 270-run innings against Pakistan at Rawalpindi in 2004. The three-match series was levelled at 1-1 and there was pressure on the Indian side to register their first Test series win in Pakistan.

Dravid, who served as stand-in skipper for the first two Tests, was deprived of the command when regular skipper Sourav Ganguly returned.

Dravid had been out of sorts in the previous two matches, but in the game, the former Indian captain blasted his detractors with a 200-plus knock. Virender Sehwag was sent to the pavilion on the first ball of the match, and from there onwards, 'The Wall' took the charge. His knock enabled India to win the game and he went on to be adjudged as the Man of the Match.

Dravid's 146-run performance against England at the Oval in 2011 is one of his most underappreciated efforts. India batters had a dismal series, and the team was 0-3 down heading into the last match.

Because regular opener Gautam Gambhir was out with an injury, Dravid returned to the crease to open the batting. India continued to lose wickets at regular intervals, but Dravid held his ground and went on to score an unbroken 146. His innings did not save the game for India, but he went on to become the team's leading run-scorer in the series.

Dravid also demonstrated remarkable team spirit by taking up the duties of a wicket-keeper in the ODI format since the team management thought they might play an extra bowler if a well-set batsman also served as the wicket-keeper.

Dravid is the only player to be involved in two 300-plus ODI partnerships. He has played 164 Tests, 344 ODIs, and one T20I for India. The batter finally announced his retirement from international cricket in March 2012. He finished his career with 48 international centuries. Dravid took over the head coach's role of Team India in November 2021.

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