No. 41

Dravid conquers Adelaide

With a perfect square-cut, an epic is sealed

Dileep Premachandran

September 27, 2009

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Rahul Dravid takes India home, Australia v India, 2nd Test, Adelaide, 16 December, 2003
Cut when you are winning © Getty Images
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Adelaide, 16 December 2003

When Rahul Dravid walked out to bat less than half an hour into the final morning at the Adelaide Oval, he knew that India were on the threshold of something special. Ajit Agarkar's unexpected six-wicket haul the previous afternoon had set up a target of 230 runs, and by the time Dravid emerged to rapturous applause from the Indian support, Aakash Chopra and Virender Sehwag had already whittled off 48.

Dravid had scripted an epic 233 in the first innings, adding 303 with VVS Laxman, but he needed a kiss from Dame Fortune to get going on the final day. Brad Williams had injured his left shoulder, but he toiled heroically, and when Dravid had made just 9, a perfectly pitched delivery on off stump flew off the edge. Adam Gilchrist grassed the chance, and though Williams continued to trouble him with reverse-swing, Dravid wasn't to be denied. He added 70 with Sachin Tendulkar, and as nails were being bitten to the quick, Laxman came out and caressed a lovely 32-run cameo. Simon Katich's left-arm spin induced a couple more flutters, but fittingly the last act was to feature the two men who had done so much to ease the path to victory.

As Agarkar watched from the non-striker's end, Dravid cut a Stuart MacGill delivery through point. There was a yell of delight and a clenched fist, and Steve Waugh made it a point to pick the ball out of the gutter and hand it over to a man who embodied the warrior spirit that he himself personified.

Dileep Premachandran is an associate editor at Cricinfo
This article was first published in the print version of Cricinfo Magazine

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Dileep Premachandran Associate editor Dileep Premachandran gave up the joys of studying thermodynamics and strength of materials with a view to following in the footsteps of his literary heroes. Instead, he wound up at the Free Press Journal in Mumbai, writing on sport and politics before Gentleman gave him a column called Replay. A move to followed, where he teamed up with Sambit Bal, and he arrived at ESPNCricinfo after having also worked for Cricket Talk and Sunil Gavaskar and Greg Chappell were his early cricketing heroes, though attempts to emulate their silken touch had hideous results. He considers himself obscenely fortunate to have watched live the two greatest comebacks in sporting history - India against invincible Australia at the Eden Gardens in 2001, and Liverpool's inc-RED-ible resurrection in the 2005 Champions' League final. He lives in Bangalore with his wife, who remains astonishingly tolerant of his sporting obsessions.

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