It's nearly unanimous that Rahul Dravid stands among the top five greatest Indian batters ever. His unparalleled technique and defensive skills have made him exceptional. For those who witnessed "The Wall" in play, Dravid epitomized perfection like no one else. On and off the field, Rahul Dravid was the epitome of a perfect gentleman and a role model. A remarkable player who added an extra layer of intrigue to test cricket, Dravid was an ideal test batter, and his technique was impregnable. On his 50th birthday, let us look at the top three of his best Test innings;
222 vs New Zealand, 2003
The former India skipper Rahul Dravid had delivered a stellar innings against New Zealand in Ahmedabad, marking the opening match of the test series where he showcased his class to put the Kiwis at a disadvantage. With his double century and Sourav Ganguly's unbeaten century, India had declared that the first innings, amassing a total of 500 runs on the scoreboard. Although the match concluded in a draw, Dravid was honoured with the player of the match title for his outstanding double century and a half-century in the first and second innings, respectively.
233 vs Australia, 2003
In the iconic 2001 Eden Gardens Test, VVS Laxman played the leading role in a legendary partnership that altered India's fortunes. However, in a reversal of roles in this match, Rahul Dravid took charge. Laxman played the perfect supporting actor as the duo once again rescued India from a precarious situation against Australia.
Facing a deficit after Australia posted 556 in the first innings, India found themselves struggling at 85/4. Yet, Dravid and Laxman orchestrated another unforgettable partnership, amassing 303 runs, leaving the Aussies stunned and thwarting their ambitions again. Dravid's innings of 233 was sublime, marked by a noteworthy moment when he reached a century by hooking the ball for a six, a departure from his usual defensive style, showcasing an expanded range of strokes to counterattack the Australians.
As the last man out, Dravid propelled his team within just 33 runs of Australia's first-innings total, a feat that seemed improbable when India lost their fourth wicket. Despite Australia missing some key bowlers, Dravid and Laxman demonstrated their prowess against the formidable opponent. Dravid's remarkable innings played a pivotal role in India's eventual triumph in the match, with him also contributing an unbeaten 72 in the second innings, underscoring the significance of his performance.
270 vs Pakistan, 2004
This inning from the legendary batter went down as one of his best Test innings. It was an innings of sheer grit and determination. It is certainly, one of the most treasured accomplishments in a cricketer's career is delivering standout performances against arch-rivals. For an Indian batsman, excelling against Pakistan holds unique significance. Rahul Dravid showcased his brilliance in Test cricket with a memorable innings against Pakistan on their home turf in Rawalpindi.
This series held special importance for India as it marked their first-ever series victory in Pakistan, and Dravid's double century added an extra layer of significance to the triumph. Dravid achieved this feat in the decisive third and final test match of the series, where both teams had already secured a win each. His innings contributed significantly to Team India's impressive total of 600 runs in the first innings, proving insurmountable for the opposition.