Dravid scales another peak
With the 80th run during his 111 in Chennai, Rahul Dravid became only the sixth player - and the third Indian, after Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar - to reach the coveted milestone of 10,000 runs in Test cricket. He hasn't been at his best of late - this hundred was his first since last May - but Dravid's determination came to the fore yet again; perhaps it was fitting that he brought up the milestone with a typically characteristic knock, stonewalling his way to a hundred while Virender Sehwag stole the thunder with a blazing 319.
Dravid reached the landmark in his 120th Test and 206th innings, and although both Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar required lesser number of innings, Dravid has achieved the same in the shortest time span, a few months under 12 years, almost two years lesser than Lara. With an average of 55.41, Dravid has the best average among those with over 10,000 runs.
His career average is only bettered by two Indian batsmen, neither of whom has played more than three Tests. With a cut-off of at least 500 Test runs, Dravid's average is the highest among Indians.
*The figures include his 23 runs in one Test for the ICC World XI.
Consistency has been a hallmark of Dravid's batting: South Africa is the only opposition against which he has less-than-impressive numbers - his average is below 40 both against and in South Africa. He averages 45.78 against Australia, but against all the other seven Test-playing teams his average is more than 50. (For Dravid's career batting summary, click here.)
Like Stephen Fleming, who retired recently, Dravid too relishes the prospect of an overseas challenge. (He averages much higher that Fleming, though, managing over 50 both home and away.) Dravid's home average is 51.75, while in overseas matches it shoots up to 58.50. Among those with at least 1000 away runs, Dravid's average is fifth on the list. Don Bradman is far ahead with an average of over 100, while three England batsman - Ken Barrington, Wally Hammond and Jack Hobbs - occupy the next three spots with averages of 69.18, 66.32 and 59.91. Increase the cut-off to 4000 runs and the only batsman ahead of Dravid is Hammond, and the list of 15 offers a good comparison of Dravid's away record against other profilic run-getters.
The innings in Chennai was Dravid's 150th at the No. 3 position. No other batsman has achieved the mark, and it's no surprise that Dravid has scored the most number of runs at the position, closely followed by Ricky Ponting. In terms of averages, though, Bradman, Ponting and Sangakkara have higher numbers.
Dravid performs better in the first innings than second innings, but unlike quite a few other batsmen, his performance doesn't crumble in the fourth innings of a match. He averages 46.17 in the fourth, while his third-innings averages is only marginally better at 47.67. Dravid has scored a total of 1293 runs in the fourth innings, but more significantly 878 of those have come in wins and draws, with his average nearly touching a hundred in those games.
Dravid averages drops to a rather poor 27.27 in the 36 matches India have lost through his career, but he more than makes up in wins and drawn matches, averaging over 70 in those. His average in non-losses is among the best among the most prolific batsmen in Tests, making him one of India's best match-winners with the bat.
A feature of Dravid's Test career has been his ability to string partnerships. He's been involved in the most 100-run stands in Tests. Dravid has been part of ten century stands with three other batsmen in India's middle-order - Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman. Gavaskar is the only other batsman who has had ten century stands with three partners.
Dravid's last 1000 runs have taken the longest: he needed 30 innings to move from 9000 to 10,000. He required 24 to move from 4000 to 5000, and took 23 for his first 1000. Tendulkar was a slower starter than Dravid, but he caught up and got to 10,000 in 11 fewer innings.
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(All stats updated till the end of India's first innings of the ongoing Chennai Test against South Africa.)
Mathew Varghese is an editorial assistant at Cricinfo