The Wall stood firm to prop India
It was Dravid who helped India reach the platform with a 203-run partnership with Jaffer despite not being in the best of form.india Updated: Jun 07, 2006 11:34 IST
The talking point of the first Test from India's perspective will be Wasim Jaffer's 212, which brought the team back into the game, and Mahendra Singh Dhoni's hurricane 69 that helped them reach a position from where they could set the West Indies a stiff target.
Sandwiched between the two and buried somewhat will be Rahul Dravid's 62, which wasn't monumental in terms of runs or spectacular in terms of the way they were scored. But make no mistake, for a team that conceded a lead of 130 in the first innings, this effort was nothing less than a fresh lease of oxygen.
It's difficult to imagine that Dhoni would have wielded his monstrous bat with such telling effect had he come in at 319 for five instead of 419 for five.
It was Dravid who helped India reach that platform with a 203-run partnership with Jaffer and also set an example for the opener despite not being in the best of touches himself.
The captain had been in this position before and was in no way unfamiliar with the situation. Only, he was not batting as fluently as he had on many previous occasions.
He was struggling to get the ball into the gaps and also finding it difficult to time the ball the way he likes. So he decided not to play strokes and just dug deep. It was literally 'nothing doing' with deliveries outside the off stump as he kept leaving one after another.
How well he did that is evident from the fact that he occupied the crease for 274 minutes, faced 177 balls of which just two went for boundaries. One can say that his comments in pre or post-match media sessions are diplomatically correct, predictable and too flat to create a flutter.
Few can argue that the boldest of his statements come from his bat. "It was great to have him at the other end. When I was in the 120s, he kept egging me on for a double, saying that the chance to get one doesn't come that often.
It was he who made me realise the importance of not throwing it away. It made a huge impact," acknowledged Jaffer.
Being the first Test of the series, it was an immensely important match for Dravid, the captain. He couldn't afford a setback here after the ODI series loss.
The batsman in him didn't respond in the best possible manner, but the character that his batsmanship is all about was very much visible. The value of this knock shouldn't be weighed in mere numbers. Like the scoreboard, they don't tell the full story.