A tale of two unsung heroes

Written by: Sajith Balakrishnan
Published: Sunday, December 14, 2003, 16:38 [IST]
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The way Rahul Dravid and V V S Laxman blasted the Aussie attack at Adelaide Oval reminds one of their record-breaking partnership that put an end to the Aussie juggernaut in Eden Gardens in Kolkata in 2001.

Steve Waugh and his all-conquering Aussies were on a roll with 16 wins under their belt and were on the verge of the the 17th. Then came the series-turning association between the ever-ebullient Laxman and the stoic Dravid who sent the Aussies on a leather hunt.

In the present series Down Under, with every passing day, the Indian team seems to be gaining confidence. If it was Zaheer and Sourav who held the tri-colour high at the Gabba, it was the turn of Dravid and Laxman to hog the limelight in the second Test after Anil Kumble's resurgence on day two.

Both of them, despite oodles of talent, had always been under-rated and had always to live in the shadow of Sachin Tendulkar who seems to be woefully out of sorts. Both of them had a point to prove too and they did it admirably. For Dravid, who is one of those rare figures in the contemporary game who has a better overseas record than at home, the only glaring omission in an otherwise illustrious CV was a hundred at Australia which is the litmus test for every batsman. And the lanky Hyderabadi showed his detractors that he is not lackadaisical and not the one to gift his wicket as was being alleged.

It is said that fast bowlers hunt in pairs. It seems as though batsmen too flourish in pairs and Dravid and Laxman have formed an excellent bond. In the famous Kolkata Test, Dravid had to vacate his crucial number three slot to none other than Laxman. In the end, the move paid off as both of them tore apart the Aussie attack to send the Eden crowd into a rhapsody.

Both of them are as different as chalk and cheese, yet when they come together, it sends shivers down the bowlers' spine. Messers Gillespie and Co would be the first ones to acknowledge that. While Laxman is more or less an enigma with the willow, Dravid is more of the connoisseurs' delight with his artistry and pure elegance.

If the Aussies find themselves on the backfoot, the credit goes to these two batsmen. They made mincemeat of the much-acclaimed Kangaroo attack well known for its vim and vitality with their rollicking 303-run partnership. Rarely must the Aussies have been in such a predicament during the start of a series, for they are used to dominating the opposition from the word go. It is unlikely that the Aussie media will give the credit due to these Indians, for when others looks for reasons, the Aussie media looks for excuses.

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