India vs. England 1st Test: Dravid's unbeaten century helps India avoid follow on
It was typical day at work for Rahul Dravid but it was a lot more special this time around. Rahul Dravid made his debut at Lords in 1996 and missed out on a hundred as he was dismissed on 95. There were a lot of expectations from Tendulkar as he walked out in search of his 100th century. He failed to reach the landmark but will have ample opportunity in the second innings. The baton was forwarded to “The Wall” who was full of his usual perseverance. He came out to bat and even though the wickets kept falling at the other end he kept his calm. He did not unnecessarily try to increase the run-rate nor did he try extravagance as he knew that time on the crease would ultimately matter in this Test.
India found them-self in a dubious position in the test match ending their first innings at 286. Dravid remained unbeaten at 103 but was influential in avoiding the shame of follow-on. There was no other significant contribution from the Indian batting line-up. Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni partnered Dravid for a while but were eventually defeated by the penetration of English bowlers. Graeme Swann kept one end tight for the English whereas Chris Tremlett and Stuart Broad picked the bulk of the wickets.
Dravid’s resilience on the pitch is much-spoken about and even though there was nothing new about his game today (for frankly it is difficult to surpass perfection) but there was an undercutting desire. The desire was to be seen as he exulted after getting his century. He threw himself into an embrace with Zaheer Khan who could have had another injury scare by the sheer excitement of it. His innings has rarely come in vain for India and the statistics are an evidence of that. In the 32 centuries he has made only 1 has been in a losing cause.
However, the odds are stacked against him this time. With over two days to be played in the match there is every chance of India losing another first test away from home. England have a considerable lead and they would want to add just over 200 to the tally and put India in. Andrew Strauss would consider the weather forecast of the next two days with great strain and may want 4 sessions to dismantle India in the fourth innings.
Whatever be the result of the match, Dravid’s innings marks a transcending landmark. It will represent on the Lords honours board a resolve that had the longevity of a man’s concentration, the virtue of his sportsmanship and the character of his game.