It takes all kinds to make a world. That idiom is just as relevant in cricket. Test cricket's highest run-getters -- Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid -- proved that here at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) yesterday. India were 214-3 on Day Two, trailing by 119 runs.
Rahul Dravid (left) with Sachin Tendulkar on Day Two of the first Test
against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground yesterday. Pic/Getty
While the first half of Dravid's knock was typical -- his bat pointing towards the ground after a perfect defensive shot. Add a few glorious on-drives to that, one leg glance that stuck to the mind. The second half of his innings was unsightly.
He kept falling over to in-swingers from James Pattinson, twisted his ankle, got struck on the stomach, was tormented by Peter Siddle's late burst, and clean bowled on 65 off a no-ball. But, he survived, like only he can. If he were to get three figures today, it would be his sixth century of the year.
On the other hand, there was Tendulkar's gem that comprised of upper cuts, finer, wristy upper cuts, on-drives, cover drives, slog sweeps, leg lances and even the cheeky dab through third-man fence. Tendulkar is said to like bananas, but he might have had something else during the tea break.
Prior to the interval, Tendulkar faced eight balls for two runs and was nearly caught at silly mid-on off Michael Hussey. First ball after tea, he upper cut Siddle for a six, followed it with a glorious drive through mid-wicket for three runs. Two overs later, Tendulkar slapped Siddle's short ball with an open bat, and followed it with the best cover drive you will ever see.
Then came the on-drive off Ben Hilfenhaus that skipped a heartbeat, described by ABC commentator Neil Maxwell as "the greatest impression the teenager left with us close to two decades ago." Meanwhile, he avoided attacking the gentle medium-pace of Hussey.
After six overs of Siddle, young Pattinson returned to challenge the master. Tendulkar once again brought his wrists into a slap over point that was cut off at the boundary by David Warner. He then played the slog-sweep to Nathan Lyon, played yet another upper cut, a lot finer this time, off Hilfenhaus. It was the shot that took him to 50 in just 61 balls. There was one more fine on-side four off Lyon, before he appeared to be playing for stumps.
Then, Siddle brought to an end an amazing display of strokeplay in the dying stages of the day when Tendulkar played down the wrong line to one that reversed.