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Second to one, that's where Dravid stands

Rahul Sharad Dravid loves to get his runs when it counts. He has built his career doing that. Sanjjeev Karan Samyal reports. Another brick in the wall

india Updated: Jul 24, 2011 02:35 IST
Sanjjeev Karan Samyal
Sanjjeev Karan Samyal
Hindustan Times

There are batsmen who score runs and then there are batsmen who score runs when the pressure is on, when the ball is doing something and the game is in balance.

Rahul Sharad Dravid loves to get his runs when it counts. He has built his career doing that.

It was back to a familiar role for the legendary batsman as he waged a lone battle against the England attack at Lord's on Saturday.

His 50th run helped him to become the second highest run-getter in Test cricket, going past Australia's Ricky Ponting.

Having played his cricket under the shadow of Sachin Tendulkar, Dravid has been content with going about his business quietly.

Lack of recognition has never affected him. He is 38 and these are his last few games. The way he rolled back the years on Saturday, it looks he is determined to bow out with a bang. The England pacers bowled a probing line in seaming conditions, but Dravid was dead sure where his off-stump was.

Except for one blemish, when he was put down by Graeme Swann at second slip off Stuart Broad, it was a sparkling innings by the Bangalore bat. He was off the mark with a classical coverdrive off James Anderson on the 14th ball he faced.

The way he tamed Anderson was a treat to watch. He hit him for three fours in an over, two square drives and a flick. Dravid credits his success to understanding the value of the India cap. He said he had to work hard to earn it and the early struggle has always inspired him.

"It meant a lot to me (his India debut at Lord's when he made 95). I had played five years of first-class cricket and had scored lots of runs there to break into the Indian squad. I got an opportunity to come here on a tour to England. At the start of that series, I wouldn't have given myself good odds to play in Tests given the kind of team we had. There were a few injuries and I was lucky to get an opportunity.

"I knew it would probably be the only one (chance), otherwise you had to go back to domestic cricket and start the cycle all over again. In India everyone scores lots of runs in domestic cricket and it's very tough to break in. Patience has been his biggest virtue. He has batted longer than anyone ever in Test cricket, and Indian cricket has been so much richer for that.

First Published: Jul 24, 2011 00:53 IST