Yes, India are in trouble at Lords in the 2000th test and the 100th between the teams. But it could have been worse had “The Wall” fallen. Once again Rahul Dravid played a typical grinding innings to enable India save the follow-on. True , he isn’t the fluent unbreachable presence that he was in the early part of this century.
But with Dravid it has always been about contributions and not just about looking good. Not that his batting isn’t good to watch. He has a wide array of strokes and looks good when playing them but in between them he is willing to dish out some “positive minded defence”, to put the team in favourable positions. He and Saurav Ganguly heralded the era of a new look Indian side, tough , aggressive and competitive. In fact Sachin and Saurav intially and then VVS have always been the bright stars whose luminisence blinded the stable planetary qualities of Dravid.
Saurav’s captaincy record is enviable because of Rahul’s peak performances during that period. Sachin will struggle to match Rahul’s match winning contibutions outside of India. Dravid kept out VVS from the number 3 spot but it was his solidity at the other end that enabled VVS to play some dream innings and move from good to great. The 281 was a gem but the 183 at the other end is often forgotten. He has been an equal contributor to India getting to the No 1 spot.
In fact , even in the One Dayers he was the one who made India’s winning pattern possible. Accepting the unenvious task as a make shift keeper, he played some unbelievable winning knocks during that time.
Now he is the second highest scorer of all time in Tests after his latest ton at Lords and he let his emotions out for once after reaching 100. Even in this test the media hype was around Sachin’s ton of tons, which I hope comes in the second innings. But for now lets salute the silent dignified South Indian who has all along let his performances speak. India’s reign at the top could well be determined by how long the golden trio carries on. For all of the flashiness the young brigade has, one gets a feeling it will be the solidity of the seniors that will determine if they hang on to the spot.