Rahul Dravid scored 115 runs in the second innings against England in Nottingham to save the Test match for India.
During an interview with Wisden, former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar had said that Rahul Dravid was the “biggest nightmare” for him. “The biggest nightmare I ever faced was Rahul Dravid. He used to bore me. He was the first batsman who could intimidate me, in terms of when he walked in, I knew I would have to field for at least two sessions more,” Akhtar revealed. Well, one can safely assume that assessment was felt by many bowlers and fielders in opposition.
One such instance came in 2002 when Dravid along with Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly saved a Test match for India against England in Nottingham. The hosts had taken a massive first-innings lead after posting 617 in reply to India’s 357.
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Opener Michael Vaughan struck his career-best 197 while Craig White remained unbeaten at 94 and India were handed a deficit of 260 runs in the second innings. Adding to their misery, India were put under pressure straight away by the English bowlers. Matthew Hoggard removed Virender Sehwag for a second-ball duck after trapping him in front of the stumps while Andrew Flintoff scalped Wasim Jaffer’s wicket for 5, in the same manner, to leave India struggling at 11/2.
This was the time when Dravid along with Tendulkar showed his ability with the bat and proved why he was one of the most dependable batsmen that India had in the lineup. The right-hander stitched a stand of 163 runs with Tendulkar before the ‘Master Blaster’ was cleaned up by Michael Vaughan for 92. But this didn’t stop Dravid from playing his natural and defensive game. He continued to score runs and put another partnership of 135 with captain Sourav Ganguly for the fourth wicket. Though he himself got out to give England their fourth wicket but till then he had done his job as he scored 115 runs that came off 244 balls and included 16 boundaries.
Ganguly eventually missed out on getting a ton by just one run as he was cleaned up by Stephen Harmison. No one can take away the contributions from Tendulkar and Ganguly as the duo chipped in with runs at a critical situation but Dravid’s 115 off 244 helped the visitors bat for a longer period of time and take the match towards a draw in the end.