London, July 23: How many times will India see their prize top-order batsman Rahul Dravid keep his head above water while the rest of the line-up drown? Vindicating his pseudonym, Dravid once again remained a "wall" while his team-mates fell to ruin against a highly penetrative England pace attack. There was rarely a more pressing occasion than on Day 3 of the ongoing Lord's Test for the Karnataka batsman's prowess and fortitude to surface.
It was Dravid's trademark tenacity that proved the saving grace amidst an otherwise shambolic Indian performance with the bat. In notching up his 33rd Test century en route to saving India from an impending follow-on, the classy batsman even recorded a personal milestone - surpassing Australia's Ricky Ponting in the list of highest run-getters and moving into second place behind his compatriot Sachin Tendulkar. The historic moment arrived in the 48th over when Dravid drove off-break Graeme Swann to the boundary, completing a half-century in the process.
Granted, Dravid came in for a bit of good fortune when he was dropped on 42 at slip off a fiery Stuart Broad. But he made that life count. He seemed to be at his most destructive by playing off the back foot, hitting against the turn off Swann and in so doing dispatching him to the boundary several times. His footwork was immaculate as he drove the pacers to the fence as well, showing a confidence usually associated with batsman of his calibre.
As the wickets kept going down, Dravid made sure that he fielded the strike as often as possible. Not much support came from the middle or latter order, but Dravid stayed focused on the job. His flashes of aggression belied his reputation of being a stuck-in-a-rut batsman as his knock was studded with 15 fours. With his innings, Dravid has handed hope to India on a platter as the visitors now fight to stay alive in this encounter.