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Rahul Dravid turns 49: A look at Four Major Wins under The Wall’s captaincy

Rahul Dravid, one of the India's most prolific players of all time, turns 49 today.

Rahul Dravid turns 49: A look at Four Major Wins under The Wall’s captaincy, Happy Birthday Rahul Dravid
Rahul Dravid turns 49 today (Image ©PTI)

While India plays the third and final Test at Newlands Stadium in Cape Town, the Indian team will also celebrate the birthday of their head coach, Rahul Dravid. The Wall of Indian Cricket turns 49 today. Dravid has been India's man of crisis. Jammy has always put his hands up whenever India needed someone to step up.

‘No’ doesn’t exist in Rahul Dravid’s dictionary

India needed someone to bat at the number three position in Test cricket. Dravid said yes and held that position like glue. Sourav Ganguly asked The Wall to be the wicketkeeper for the balance of the One Day International side and he said yes for the sake of the team.

Dravid even served as the Director of the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru. There he had created the players for tomorrow. Coach Dravid was with the Under-19 team and India A squad. Now he is the head coach of the Indian Cricket Team after the current Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president, Sourav Ganguly, asked him to serve the national side.

The Wall earnt his name through sheer hard work

Rahul Dravid is called “The Wall” because his defence was impossible to break. He used to burn like a sun to shine at the international level. Dravid made the number three spot his own in Test cricket. He scored over 13,000 runs in the red-ball format. Considered “slow” as an ODI player, he broke that stereotype and smashed the fastest fifty against New Zealand in the fifty-over format.

The Wall has also scored more than 10,000 runs in the ODI format and he even captained the Indian team in Tests and the fifty-over format. Dravid had a successful stint as the skipper of the national side. But he is still judged for one bad performance which came in the 2007 ICC World Cup in the West Indies.

The former Indian skipper was an underrated captain. He scored 1,736 runs from 25 Test matches with four centuries to his name when he captained the side. Dravid had captained the Test team in 25 games and India won eight of them while losing six. In fifty overs cricket, Dravid led India in 79 matches. India won 42 games and lost 33 matches. Dravid scored 2,558 runs during his ODI captaincy stint.

On his 49th birthday, we take a look at his famous wins as the captain of Team India in the Test format and One Day International matches:

Test series win in England in 2007

India's tour of England in 2007 was a successful campaign. The Indian team won the Test series on that tour under Dravid and that was also the last time India won a Test series in England.

India saved the first Test at Lord’s thanks to MS Dhoni’s cameo of unbeaten 59 runs and the rain gods which showered at the right time. India was undone by the England bowlers in both innings. Still, the visitors managed to draw that Test.

India bounced back strongly in Trent Bridge. Zaheer Khan toppled the England batters apart and then it was a mighty impressive performance with the bat in both the innings which allowed India to take complete control of that Test. Despite the ton from their captain Michael Vaughan, England couldn't save that Test and India won comfortably in the end.

India scored a mammoth 664 runs in the last Test because of the maiden Test ton from Anil Kumble and five fifties from other batters at The Oval. England’s reply wasn’t a great one as they were bowled out for just 345 runs in their 1st innings. India had a chance of enforcing a follow-on. But India batted again as Dravid wanted to give his bowlers a good amount of rest. India had set a target of 500 runs for the hosts to level the series. Despite being 11 for three in the second innings, the visitors got a decent score because of Ganguly and Dravid. England had to bat for 110 overs to save the Test and they did it because of a classy ton from Kevin Pietersen. The last Test was hence drawn. Still, India won the series 1-0, their first in 21 years in England.

First Test match win in South Africa at Wanderers in 2006-07

Recently, India lost the second Test of Freedom Trophy 2021-22 at The Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg, the venue where they won their first-ever Test on South African soil. This venue was also India's fortress before Dean Elgar snatched it with a match-winning 96* for his side. In 2006-07, India won their first-ever Test in South Africa, which again came under Rahul Sharad Dravid's leadership.

Before 2006, the Indian team had made three winless tours to South Africa and finally, the visitors were off the mark with a win of 122 runs at the Wanderers Stadium. But before the Test series, South Africa had whitewashed India four-nil in the fifty overs series and many expected that the Proteas would roll the Indians over in the Test series also.

India posted a decent score of 249 runs in their first innings. It was mainly because of the comeback man, Sourav Ganguly. Dada scored a vital 51 runs to guide India to a decent score. Then the hosts were bundled out for just 64 runs because of a magnificent spell of fast bowling from Sreesanth. The Kerala pace bowler picked up a five-wicket haul in the innings. Then India again batted decently to reach a score of 236 runs on the spicy wicket at Wanderers.

VVS Laxman scored a fighting 73 runs in the second innings that allowed India to reach that score. India had set a target of 401 runs for South Africa. Ashwell Prince scored a gritty 97 runs. But there was no support from the other Protea batters. Zak and Sree again ripped the South African batters apart with excellent spells. The Indian pace duo picked up three wickets each in the second innings and helped India get their first win in South Africa by 122 runs.

First Test win in Pakistan in Multan in 2003-04

India took fifty long years to register a Test win against Pakistan in the latter’s den. Rahul Dravid again shepherded his troops to win in Multan in 2004. Virender Sehwag’s 309 runs and Sachin Tendulkar’s 194 not out allowed the Indians to get 675 runs for the loss of five wickets. Another debate that still keeps this Test match alive in public memory was the innings declaration when Sachin Tendulkar was batting on 194 runs on the second day of the match. The Master Blaster was just six runs short of his double hundred but skipper Dravid declared the innings to give his bowlers a shot at the Pakistan batters at the fag end of the day.

Pakistan fought their way through their innings but the collapses didn't help their cause. Mohammad Yousuf scored a fighting century to keep the hopes alive. Still, the home team managed to score only 407 runs in their first innings.

India needed just one wicket on the final day with Yousuf still batting. Irfan Pathan got India the last wicket of Yousuf off a short ball, which he mistimed, and the ball went straight to skipper Rahul Dravid who caught it safely. India won that match by an innings and 52 runs.

First Series Win in 35 years in West Indies in 2006

The Caribbean tour has always been a massive task for India. West Indies had dominated the 70s and 80s era of cricket. But in 2006, India breached the West Indies in a Test series and won the series 1-0.

In 1971, under Ajit Wadekar, India had won their first-ever series in West Indies. It took 21 years for India to register a series win over the indies in the Caribbean. In the 2006 series, the first two Test matches were drawn and India won the third Test match by 49 runs at Kingston in Jamaica.

India were bundled out for just 200 runs in their first innings. Rahul Dravid top-scored with 81 runs and Anil Kumble contributed with 46 runs. But India paved their way back because of brilliant bowling. Bhajji picked up five wickets for just 13 runs, and he was supported well by his fellow bowlers allowing India to bowl out the West Indies for just 103 runs.

The second innings was again a disaster for India. The tourists were bowled out for just 171 runs. VVS Laxman top-scored with 58 runs and MS Dhoni scored 19 runs as the second-highest scorer in the second innings. But due to to a good bowling performance, India again bounced back despite a poor batting display in both innings.

India had set a target of 269 runs for the West Indies to win the Test series. Apart from Ramnaresh Sarwan’s 51 runs and Marlon Samuels’s 62 runs, no other Windies batter contributed in this run chase. Anil Kumble took six wickets for 78 runs, allowing India to bundle out the Windies for 219 runs. India won the match by 49 runs and the series 1-0.

Walking Wicket wishes Rahul Dravid all the best on his 49th birthday.

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