Rahul Dravid, in the course of what has been a amazing renaissance after a slump in form, passed yet another milestone when he became only the second batsman after Sachin Tendulkar to reach 13,000 runs in Tests. Dravid, playing his 160th Test, reached the landmark in 277 innings, which is 11 more than the number of innings taken by Tendulkar. His career looked in jeopardy when he uncharacteristically struggled for runs in 2007 and 2008. However, since he reached the 12,000-run mark during an otherwise forgettable South African tour, he has had an outstanding run, scoring 747 runs at an average of 74.70 with four centuries. During the disastrous England tour where India lost all four Tests, Dravid reigned supreme. While all other batsmen found it near impossible to cope with the bowler-friendly conditions, Dravid displayed superb concentration and technique to score 461 runs with three centuries in four Tests.
Tendulkar and Dravid have been the pillars of the Indian batting line-up for well over a decade and have been responsible for India's ability to compete against the top Test teams. Dravid, who made his debut nearly seven years after Tendulkar, had a much better start to his career. He took only 23 innings to reach his first 1000 runs while Tendulkar took 29. Both players were far quicker to the 2000-run mark taking less than 20 innings each. Dravid, however, had a bad period in 1999-2000 when he scored only 93 runs in six innings in Australia. The poor form continued till he bounced back with 180 to rescue India from a hopeless position in Kolkata in 2001. In the next few years, Dravid became India's most successful batsman in overseas Tests, scoring match-winning centuries in Headingley (148), Adelaide (233) and Rawalpindi (270). Remarkably, Dravid and Tendulkar took the same number of innings to go from the 5000 to 6000-run mark and from the 7000 to 8000-run mark.
In the 2006 series in the West Indies, when he scored a stunning century on a difficult Jamaica pitch, Dravid's average reached 58.75, moving him temporarily to fifth on the list of batsmen with the highest average in Tests. Tendulkar, who had just gone through a rough patch, reinvented himself spectacularly, taking just 16 innings between 9000 and 10,000 runs. Dravid, on the other hand, suffered a loss of form in 2008 and took 30 innings to score 1000 runs (8000-9000). The batting stats for both players across the last three 1000-run periods have been uncannily similar. While Tendulkar, who reached the 10,000-run mark in his 195th innings, took 71 innings more to get to 13,000 runs, Dravid has also taken the same number of innings to get to his latest landmark after getting to 10,000 runs.
* Stats are at the end of the particular match when the landmark was reached.
India have been a dominant force in world cricket mainly due to a powerful batting line-up. Dravid, Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and VVS Laxman figure in the top five on the list of India's leading run-getters. However, a detailed comparison of their batting stats reveals some interesting differences. Tendulkar has the most number of centuries at home (22) and the second-best home average (56.82) among the five. Dravid, whose numbers at home are less flattering than the others, has been superb in away Tests. His tally of centuries in away Tests (21) is second only to that of Tendulkar (29) and his away average also is marginally lower than Tendulkar's. Laxman and Sehwag have been far less successful in away Tests averaging 44.17 and 46.78 respectively.
What sets Rahul Dravid apart from the rest is his superb display in wins outsidethe subcontinent. Dravid averages a stunning 70.93 in victories outside Asia (excluding Zimbabwe) with three centuries and six fifties in ten matches. India's defensive approach in the earlier years coupled with a weak bowling attack meant that Sunil Gavaskar hardly figured in many wins home or way. Shockingly though, Virender Sehwag has been very ordinary in away wins (outside subcontinent) and averages just 24.66 in seven matches without a single half-century.
During his long career, Dravid has been a crucial factor in India's batting exploits. This is primarily because of his ability to forge vital partnerships in the middle order. Dravid, who has been involved in the most century stands for any player (87), has shared prolific stands with Tendulkar and Laxman. The Dravid-Tendulkar partnership is the most successful in Test history and recently went past the legendary West Indian pairing of Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes. Dravid has also had an extremely fruitful association with Laxman, with their most famous stand coming in the Kolkata Test in 2001. On that occasion, they put on 376 as India clawed back to win the Test despite following on. The pair was again involved in a triple-century stand in Adelaide in 2003 as India went on to win by four wickets. Dravid has also proved to be the perfect foil to the aggressive Sehwag and has partnered him in ten century stands, including a massive 410-run partnership in Lahore in 2006.
A comparison with the two others in the 12,000-run club throws up some interesting numbers too. Ricky Ponting, who showed glimpses of his top form during his 62 in the second Test in Johannesburg, has experienced both the best and worst phases of form in the last decade. He was the second-fastest to the 10,000-run mark in terms of innings (196) and averaged 58.72 at that point. When he reached 10,000 runs, Ponting had 35 centuries to Tendulkar's 34. Dravid and Kallis were much slower to the mark, taking 206 and 217 innings respectively. Ponting also had the lowest percentage of single-figure dismissals at that stage (19.38) followed by Kallis (20.73).
However, in the years after reaching the 10,000-run mark, Ponting's form has fallen drastically. In 70 innings, he averages under 37.00 with just four centuries. His single-figure dismissal percentage in the period has also gone up to 34.28. After reaching the 10,000-run mark, Dravid has been consistent but well below his career average. He has scored 11 centuries since, including five in 2011. While Tendulkar has been brilliant after the 10,000-run mark with 17 centuries at an average of 53.71, Kallis is not too far behind. He has scored nearly 2000 runs at an average close to 75.00 with an extremely low single-figure dismissal percentage (15.62).
* Stats are at the end of the match where batsman reached 10000 runs