India's best batting performances against Australia

Innings that matter: Laxman's 281, Dravid's 180 and the others.

2. R Dravid25 & 180 v Australia, Kolkata 2001

Match Batting IMPACT – 7.87

Brief Scores: Aus 445 & 212, Ind 171 & 657/7 – India won by 171 runs, Series 2-1 India

Innings

Runs Tally

Innings Start

Pressure

Strike Rate

Partnership Building

Innings IMPACT

1st

0.45

 

 

 

 

0.45

2nd

2.07

 

1.39

 

0.20

7.32

For too long, Dravid’s performance in the same match has been seen as a supporting role. If Dravid had got 20 runs more, the romance around his performance would increase considerably and maybe history would remember this differently. But the facts are – coming in to bat at 232 for 4 (as the last recognized batsman) a demotion for the first time in his career from no. 3 to no. 6 (after a laboured 25 in the first innings) – an international cricket life on the line. 42 runs from making Australia bat again, on a good pitch that shows no sign of breaking up.

With just one ball separating two highly disparate destinies – through this fragile reality Dravid resumes his innings on 14th March 2001, on his overnight score of 7, hoping his partner, though well-set on 109, is not satiated yet (a quintessential Indian shortcoming). About 7 hours and 335 runs later, the duo is still not separated – India 315 runs ahead, and visions of victory entering incredulous Indian consciousness. India would go on to win (thanks to Harbhajan Singh) in the last day – which, of course, gave the match its legendary status and these two batting performances their high impact. How could it have been otherwise – can life, even in all its indifference, deny any moment such a high degree of poetry?

3. R Dravid233 & 72 not out  v Australia, Adelaide 2003

Match Batting IMPACT – 7.67

Brief Scores: Aus 556 & 196, Ind 523 & 233/6 – India won by 4 wickets, Series Drawn 1-1

Innings

Runs Tally

Innings Start

Pressure

Strike Rate

Partnership Building

Innings IMPACT

1st

2.38

 

0.97

 

0.21

3.56

2nd

1.59

 

 

 

0.18

4.11

A rare momentum-changing performance that changed the way the series would be fought (even losing the next Test did not affect that, as the last Test in the series proved).

The most interesting thing about this performance is that Dravid’s 233 (made in reply to Australia’s 556) actually had a slightly lower impact than his fourth innings unbeaten knock of 72. It seems staggering at first, when you look at the circumstances of the first innings – handling a mini-collapse when it had become 85 for 4 at one point (thus handling considerable pressure).

Adding 303 runs with Laxman, then 135 more runs with the rest. Making the highest individual score overseas by an India – yes, he did all that, but the context of the match tells the full story. The first half of the match yielded 1079 runs (of which he scored 233; Ponting made 242; Laxman 148; Katich 75; even Gillespie made 48 – indicative of the runs in the pitch), the second half of the match yielded 429 (of which he scored 72; no-one crossed 50 – indicative of how conditions had changed and run-making had become difficult) – just 6% more proportionately in the first innings.

This was overtaken by the value of making the 72 in a substantial fourth innings chase (the rare occurrence that often defines legacies), even though no pressure came through the falling of quick wickets (though they kept falling in regular intervals after a strong foundation had been set) - Dravid himself played a big part with his calm presence – there was no panic; he kept the innings together. He would later say his fierce motivation was the desperation to avoid the so-near-yet-so-far heartbreak he and his team had experienced a few times in the recent past.

Fact is – that unbeaten 72 would have had a classic status in Indian cricket history, even if Dravid had scored a duck in the first innings. The reverse may not have been true because India probably wouldn’t have won the Test otherwise. A good example of how circumstances and context have a big say in the calculation of impact.

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