West Indies v India, 4th Test, Jamaica, 2006 March 14, 2010

Thou shalt not pass

Rahul Dravid gives a lesson in the art of defence on a minefield of a pitch with the series at stake

I don't remember this innings vividly. I wasn't even in the press box for most of it; instead I was sipping Appleton rum near the point boundary and talking to Ray Wynter about his rebel tour to South Africa.

There was a series at stake, but on this steamy July afternoon, Sabina Park was anything but tense. The music blared and the fans jived. The party kept getting louder.

Out in the middle, on a pitch that appeared to have landmines buried on a good length, Rahul Dravid was waging a war. Ducking, weaving, blocking, watching partners come and go, jabbing, leaving, ducking, weaving…

Jerome Taylor used lightning speed - I couldn't spot the ball in mid-air - to create thunder off the pitch. At the other end was Corey Collymore, hitting a near-perfect length and luring the drive. Both VVS Laxman and Yuvraj Singh fell for the bait.

Watching from the point boundary, I could see how still Dravid was at the crease, waiting till the last moment before reacting. With every ball he seemed to be waiting a fraction of a second longer; but the later he reacted, the more decisive he appeared.

When at the non-striker's end, he wasn't his usual shadow-practising, jumpy self. He simply leaned on his bat and stood calm, his sweaty shirt fluttering in the wind.

On a day where every other batsman - Lara, Laxman, Sehwag, Chanderpaul included - shrivelled, Dravid was beaten, hold your breath, once. And even on that occasion he softened his grip so the edge wouldn't carry to first slip.

Two overs after cleaning up MS Dhoni, with a straight ball that kept low after it hit a crack, Taylor hit the same crevice. Dravid, though, was ready, bolting the bat down ramrod-straight and patting it down the ground. Taylor stood transfixed. The wall had turned fortress.

He would keep out another 36 deliveries the next morning before missing a shooter. Back in the dressing room, having chiselled out two monumental fifties in the game and put India on the verge of a historic series win, he would curse himself for not getting the bat down in time.

A match-winning captain's hand in the second-innings of a historic away-series deciding Test on a minefield. Now beat that.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on March 17, 2010, 18:24 GMT

    cricket is no at about comparisons. Even sachin does not like. so why fight in comparing two grates of India. Its very funny some one giving points out of hundred

  • vaktratund on March 17, 2010, 9:59 GMT

    waah nikhil great post Nice to see someone understanding the true value of legend who has been sacrificed in the obsession of youngistan

  • Nikhil on March 17, 2010, 7:05 GMT

    One of the gretest batsmen India has ever produced, infact, one of the greatest the world has ever produced, I cant beleive he doesnt play one day cricket for India, He is so much better at this point in time than someone like Murali Vijay and even Virat Kohli to some extent. I still dont get how he was booted of the ODI Team, he was made a scapegoat again. Really annoying, he has so many more strkoes than Vijay and he has the added value of being experienced

  • vaktratund on March 17, 2010, 6:35 GMT

    One more thing swaminath

    If at all i was harsh with you in my act , My sincere apologies to you . It was just a technique to get more responses .

    Hey Siddharth Vaidyanathan

    I shall always be indebted to you for covering this match .you have done an excellent job just as i have done mine

  • vaktratund on March 17, 2010, 6:31 GMT

    Continuing the earlier comment :

    All of a sudden sachin makes the "Mumbai for all" comment where was he When MNS attacked the north indians ,SRT did not utter a word then why ?

    He just wanted to gain entire nation's support - be in the news that's it

    Regarding all abuses that i got from dravid fans here for those negative remarks , i would be ready to face infinte abuses to get active appreciation for Rahul Dravid

    Actually i was enjoying and also satisfied seeing the positive effect my negative comments had on dravid fans they were all ready to just beat me up if i ever came across them .

  • Rahul on March 17, 2010, 6:25 GMT

    Sachin and Dravid these 2 great batsmen have won many matches for India and are great ambassadors of the game so why get into the number game to see whoz the best. For us its a treat when these 2 (and many more) greats churn out memorable performances. Dravid's innings in WI were pretty good and effective and earned a lot of respect. We should just leave it at that and not compare them.

  • vaktratund on March 17, 2010, 6:19 GMT

    great job friends , All of my earlier comments would have fooled everyone into believing that i am a sachin fanatic and dravid hater .It is not so ....I am one of the biggest fans of dravid ...but i know indian mentality very well ,people here are satisfied just by reading the article,but they are too lazy to write a few words of appreciation ... they will read article , appreciate thru words , discuss with some friend and finish .... Does that give dravid the deserved credit,does it open eyes of those blind sachin fans ? No I knew the only way to make these people active is to criticise dravid and hype sachin way too much ..... I was very much disappointed to the response this great knock of dravid got from the readers ...... Just 30 odd comments in 2 days where as stupid articles on sachin get 1000's of responses My earlier comments were of srt fans from srt community -ve Criticism is the best way to wake up passive people just as srt provoked sena to gain nation's support

  • Dummy4 on March 16, 2010, 21:15 GMT

    yeh the batting on the Sabina Park reveals his batting performance

  • Dummy4 on March 16, 2010, 18:10 GMT

    @ gr8_sachin_fan

    come on yaar...dont do this...all of us know sachin wont do such a thing...sachin feeling insecure???i mean r u joking???he is one of the best the world has ever seen...batting god himself...he doesnt have to feel second even to bradman let alone rahul...just that rahul played more important knocks doesnt mean that he is better than rahul...we cant say who is better...lets say both are entirely different...so there is no comparison...how can u compare mozart and beethovan??? how can you compare pele and maradona??? similarly both of them have to be respected...not compared...see the amazing mutual respect they both share...sachin once said that he would want rahul to be the role model for his kid...and rahul has said he is previlaged to even share the dressing room with sachin...why we rahul and sachin fans have to fight???

  • Vimalan on March 16, 2010, 16:33 GMT

    funny comments by some of insecured dravid fans..agreed this was a great double innings by Dravid but where was he in the tour of Aus 1999 or until 2001 in away tours except that one innings against SA in 1996..Rd is a great player but Sachin is the best. just appreciate this innings and move on. Don't bring in Sachin's name here and insult him by comparing him with RD

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