Dravid happy to complete unfinished job at Lord’s

July 24th, 2011 - 3:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Sachin Tendulkar London, July 24 (IANS) Rahul Dravid says that scoring a century at Lord’s was like turning the clock back to 1996 when he missed a century on debut by just five runs at the hallowed ground.

On successive tours to England, Dravid has been a prolific scorer, but the Lord’s century eluded him.

When he finally managed to put his name on the Lord’s honours boards Saturday with a typically gritty 103 in the first Test against England and also managed to save India following on, Dravid’s uncharacterstic’s prolonged celebration, punching his fist in the air, said it all and how much the innings meant to him.

“It was at the back of my mind (missing century on debut). But frankly in the middle I was thinking about saving the follow on. So in a way, the follow on margin helped me to get my mind off it (the nearing hundred). With Praveen (Kumar) coming in, we decided that he can play some shots. It was only after we crossed the follow on when it crossed my mind that I was batting in the 90s and I have an opportunity to score a century,” Dravid said.

Asked about the celebration after reaching his century, Dravid said: “I think it was more because I missed the century here and I just wanted to score one. It feels special having scored a century in tough circumstances and having contributed to the team. It would not have been the end of the world had I not scored a century here. There are many batsmen who do not have a century at Lord’s. I just felt if it happens it is good.”

“It feels good to have your name on the honours board. It is something that is still talked about international cricketers,” he said after knocking his 33rd century, one shy of Sunil Gavaskar’s 34.

“As a young player you do not understand the significance of the occasion (making debut at at Lord’s and missing the century). I was just happy to be there and playing for the country. I could not asked for a better start (scoring 95). Looking back, I know the game has given me so much in these 15 years and changed me as a person. I was a shy young man in 1996,” Dravid said reminiscing of his first series where another debutant, Sourav Ganguly, did what he missed — a century on debut at Lord’s.

“I always love touring England. Look at this Test, the packed stands. Test cricket is still supported here and as someone who loves Test cricket, there is no better place. The crowd support and clap irrespective of who takes wickets or makes runs.”

At 38, Dravid said he has nothing to prove to the world. There are doubts though that play on a sportsperson’s mind from time to time. In the series against South Africa earlier this year, Dravid scored just 120 runs from three Tests. But he was back to winning matches for India as did his 116 in Jamaica in West Indies last month.

“I have nothing left to prove at this age. But yes it feels good after scoring two centuries that you are still good enough. At this stage of my career, it is about the contributions that I can make to the team and that’s what I achieve to do.”

“Jamaica was special because we won the Test. It was not an easy wicket here. The ball swung all day and it was cloudy as well. It is most satisfying to contribute here given the conditions.”

“Let’s hope we can save this match. We would try to take early wickets. If it’s not so, we would be on backfoot and try to draw the game.”

It is a good omen though that Dravid has scored a century. In his previous 32 centuries, India have lost a Test only once in Zimbabwe in 2001 and that alone speaks volumes about the impact the ‘Wall’ had on Indian cricket.

“It’s a challenge to fight back from this situation. We have been fighting from tough situations in the last couple of years and hopefully we would do it,” he said.

Asked about Sachin Tendulkar still awaiting his 100th international hundred, Dravid said: “He is talked about the most and probably rightly so. He was batting well today. He has another innings coming up. When all the pressure is on him, I can slip by quietly and do my business.”

“Sachin does not talk about future, he tries to live in present. He has been a great inspiration for me. I am only going to stick to my next innings.”

“It has been a privilege to play with Sachin and Laxman, the true legends of the game. These are great memories that would stay with us even when we are finished with the game.”

Tendulkar may have to wait a while for his personal milestone. But together, the pillar of Indian middle order, Tendulkar (51), Dravid (33), Laxman (16) completed a century of Test centuries Saturday.

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