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Analysis

Do the right thing

How should a batsman bat

Wisden CricInfo staff
06-Jul-2005
How should a batsman bat? The manuals would say: keep out the good balls, smash the bad ones and don't try anything silly. Rahul Dravid followed that textbook today - as he has throughout his career. His innings of 100 off 242 balls epitomised classical correctness and good shot-selection. Dravid faced 149 good-length balls - 62% of the deliveries he faced - and made just 36 runs off them. But his grafting was conditional; when the loose ball came his way, he capitalized. Thirty of the balls bowled to him were fullish, and they went for 23 runs, while 58 short deliveries bowled to him went for 41. He scored 53 runs off the 142 balls pitched in the corridor outside off, and made 47 off the other 100.
Dravid's innings was a striking contrast to Virender Sehwag's knock on the first day. Sehwag had punished even the good balls, but in doing so, had taken a greater degree of risk. As many as 41 of the 206 balls Sehwag faced either induced edges or mistimed shots, or beat him. That's an occupational hazard of the spectacular way in which he plays; Dravid, with an in-control percentage of an impressive 86%, played an entirely different kind of knock. India needs them both - but in a crisis, Dravid, who made his fourth century in a row, will always be the key man.
Amit Varma is assistant editor of Wisden.com in India.