India’s tour to Pakistan in 2003-04 was a landmark for many reasons. It marked the resumption of cricketing ties between the neighbours and gave India’s promising cricketers a chance to leave their mark and become greats of the game and they did not disappoint. The three-match Test series which won by India 2-1, belonged to Virender Sehwag, who rewrote the record books by becoming the first Indian to breach the 300-run mark during the Multan Test. The likes of Irfan Pathan, Lakshmipathy Balaji and Anil Kumble too played their parts throughout the series but it was Rahul Dravid who stood up for the tourists in the decider at Rawalpindi.
With the series locked 1-1, it all came down to the third Test at Rawalpindi and Rahul Dravid, who had had a below-par series by his standards until then, chose to seize the opportunity.
With scores of 6, 33 and 0 in the series, Dravid was under the pump but the Wall turned it all around.
He was obviously helped by Balaji, whose four-wicket haul on Day 1 helped India bowled out Pakistan for 224 and eased the pressure on India’s batting line-up.
Pakistan, however, gave a body blow to India through Shoaib Akhtar. The local boy removed man in form Virender Sehwag for a golden duck and Dravid walked in with a job on his hand.
The seasoned campaigner did a commendable job with Parthiv Patel to take India to safety. But something happened after the close of play on Day 1 that would go on to strike everyone 24 hours later.
Resuming at 15, Dravid completed his hundred on Day 2 and on Day 3 he got to 270 – his highest Test score – to take India to 600.
The former India captain went to reveal how he felt good after the first day’s play and had also made a light-hearted prediction about him getting a big one.
“I remember being 15 or something at the close of play on Day 1. I had just gone down to have dinner with a few people that night and just happened to be sitting, a few journalists were around as well. I just felt really good about my batting at that stage, I felt that I’ve batted well for the 15 runs, I felt I had batted well in the series with no significant score,” Dravid said in an interview aired on Star Sports.
“So As I was leaving, I sort of made this off the cuff remark, didn’t really mean it that much. But I said, ‘look if I get set tomorrow and bat for an hour, you know you’re gonna see a big one from me. And so it happened, I went on to score 270 so people came and said, ‘how did you know’ and all that,” Dravid added.
India’s huge score was too much for Pakistan as they crumbled for the second time in the Test match. Anil Kumble picked up four wickets and Balaji once again sneered three as India won by an innings and 131 runs to claim the series 2-1.