While the world was waiting for Sachin Tendulkar's much wanted 100th century, one man proved his mettle during the India vs. England Test match. Rahul Dravid, the Indian Wall stood tall scoring his 33rd Test, also his first at Lord's, to help India put on 286 in reply to England's first innings total of 474/8 declared, during the third day of the first Test at Lord's in London.
Lord's was glorious that day. A jam packed stadium was over-excited about Sachin Tendulkar's performance. On such days a Test transforms itself from just a match into an occasion. After the dismissal of Indian batsman Mukund the crowd went berserk when Sachin Tendulkar entered the field. Dravid was waiting at the crease to greet Tendulkar. Somehow, in all the Tendulkar hundredth international hundred hype, the crowd seemed to have been forgotten that Dravid too has probably scored his century at the 11th hour - at 38, the oldest player to score one at Lord's in more than three decades - for he too is unlikely to bat here again in a Test match. When Dravid made his earlier entrance, the reception was muted: no tumultuous applause, no standing ovation. Dravid quietly did his best, proving that he has been every bit as important to Indian batting as has been Tendulkar.
The senior batsman surpassed West Indies legend Brian Lara to become the highest run-scorer among batsmen who have batted in the fourt innings of a Test match. With a total of 33 centuries and more than 12,000 runs in Test cricket, Rahul Dravid is no doubt a legendary player.
After a lull in his career for some time now and talks of him not performing, eligible for retirement, Dravid was determined to prove his hold over the game. After making the century, Dravid broke into a celebration. "This is very special," he said. "Probably my best in the last 4-5 years. Given the context and the conditions, I have to say it was satisfying," he added.
This 33rd century has other dimensions for him as well. Firstly, it eases the pain that he has carried for 15 long years and secondly, it added maybe another couple of years to his career.
Dravid said he was glad to be back where it all began. He made his debut in the world of test cricket on June 20, 1996 at the same ground. "Lord's has a special feel to it and almost every player says so. Even if I am not playing a Test, I have enjoyed coming here, and just walking around."
Being a Capricorn, Dravid is one of the most stable and most serious of the players. He has shown confidence, strong will and a calm behaviour during his excellent tenure. He is known for his hardworking qualities which makes him a true Capricorn. He is very practical, responsible, persevering, cautious to the extreme, ambitious and disciplined.
Over the years, making innumerable records and playing with technical perfection, Rahul Dravid has proved that he deserves just as much credit as India's little master.