New Delhi: The failure in the Test series in South Africa may have hurt Rahul Dravid but the 'Wall' of Indian batting was back at what he does best as he struck an unbeaten 103 against England on Saturday, surpassing his previous best of 95, scored in his debut Test 15 years ago, at the same venue here at the Lord's. (Also Read: I doubted myself after South Africa tour failure: Dravid)
In the course of his inning, Dravid also went past Australian Ricky Ponting to become the second highest run getter in Test cricket, behind only Sachin Tendulkar.
Day 3 of the opening Test between England and India saw Dravid come to the crease early, once a tentative Gautam Gambhir was removed by Stuart Broad, and he stitched partnerships throughout the day to bail India out of recurring collapses only to finally, run out of partners. The innings itself was, according to the player himself, his best ever although India fell 188 short of England's first innings target. (Also Read: Dravid becomes second highest run scorer in Tests)
With over 12,000 runs in Test cricket since that tour of 1996 , Dravid has had all the experience working in his favour. That, coupled with skill and patience, gives him a resilient character that was on ample display through most parts of India's first innings at the Lord's this time around.
The spectators mostly came out to witness what could have been Sachin Tendulkar's highly anticipated 100th international ton but instead, it was Rahul Dravid who anchored the Indian innings with 15 boundaries in a knock that took 220 deliveries to build.
"I always loved touring England. You look at this Test, the packed stands. Test cricket is still supported here and as a Test player who loves Test cricket, there is no better place. They support and clapped irrespective of who takes wickets or makes runs," he said at the end of the day's play.
Critics may highlight a lifeline when Graeme Swann dropped him early on but appreciation was in no scarcity either. "A pleasure to see Rahul Dravid score 100 at Lords. A great player and a great person," tweeted former English cricketer Alec Stewart.