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Ideal platform for the fab four

When the second day begins, with India still 458 runs behind, the opportunity will be perfect for the best batsmen in the country to set the record straight.

cricket Updated: Mar 28, 2008 01:29 IST
Anand Vasu

When the going gets tough, the tough are meant to get going. But what about when things are not so difficult, and yet a performance is expected of you? Believe it or not, not one of India's four batting big guns has a century against South Africa at home. When the second day begins, with India still 458 runs behind, the opportunity will be perfect for the best batsmen in the country to set the record straight.

Rahul Dravid, who will get first crack at this South African attack, should a wicket fall, only averages 37.50 in seven home Tests against South Africa, a dip of almost 18 points from his overall average.

Sachin Tendulkar, who comes in next, at his favourite position of No. 4, scores at 55.57 against all opposition, but has only managed 30.58 in seven home Tests against South, a dip similar to Dravid's.

Sourav Ganguly scores at a healthy 44.25 overall, but has only managed to rattle along at 23 at home against South Africa in the six chances he has got. The biggest dip is VVS Laxman, whose 17.50 in home Tests against South Africa amounts to a fall of more than 28 points in comparison to his overall rate. Oddly enough the quartet has not faced the same problems when they've travelled to South Africa.

Even on the much faster pitches that usually afford true bounce, Tendulkar has scored three centuries of which two were big knocks, above the 150 mark.

At home Tendulkar narrowly missed out, making 97 in Mumbai in 2000 before being caught behind by Mark Boucher off Jacques Kallis.

Rahul Dravid also has a big century, he scored 148 against an attack comprising Allan Donald, Shaun Pollock, Brian McMillan and Lance Klusener back in 1997.

Laxman may never have scored a ton in South Africa, but his average is a more-than-acceptable 41.11 while playing the Proteas away.

Ganguly, who has had the most problems with short-pitched bowling among these four, has a highest score of 73 in South Africa.

Cricketers often say that they pay little attention to statistics, but somehow they seem to remember the crucial details. These are four men who are proud of their achievements for India.

If they can bear the heat, and wear down the bowlers, this might just be the time to fill their boots.