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Cricket World Rewind: #OnThisDay - Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid etch unique record with Test tons

Rahul Dravid (L) and Sachin Tendulkar talk during a training session
©Reuters
 

May 25, 2007 - India had been unceremoniously ousted from the 2007 ODI World Cup after crushing defeats against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The entire cricketing establishment in the country was under turmoil.

Greg Chappell was sacked as coach after several players voiced their opinions against him openly in the media. Ravi Shastri was appointed as interim cricket manager as the team headed for a tour of Bangladesh, branded as the revenge series.

After India beat Bangladesh by 2-0 in the ODIs, it was now time for the Test series. The first Test match at Chattogram ended in a draw with rain taking up crucial time. The two teams then moved to Dhaka for the second Test.

For some inexplicable reason, Bangladesh captain Habibul Bashar won the toss and invited India to bat first despite little logic supporting the move on a flat wicket.

The Indian opening combination of Wasim Jaffer and Dinesh Karthik cashed in. Both were lucky to get one chance each but they did make the most of it. The duo was quite watchful and ensured that they walked off to the pavilion at lunch with no loss for 67.

However, as the ball softened up and the bowlers tired, the two batsmen began to accelerate. Karthik, who had scored just 22 off 84 deliveries before lunch, brought up his next 60 runs off just 69 deliveries.

But the scorching heat in Dhaka took a toll on both the openers and Karthik had to retire at tea. Jaffer would also follow his opening partner after bringing up his fourth century.

 

At the end of day 1, India put on 326 runs on the board, technically without the loss of any wicket, with both openers retired ill. As Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid joined hands, the Bangladesh bowlers were in for another shift in the hot and humid conditions of Dhaka. They would go on to sweat it out for a total of 153 overs in the heat with little success.

Karthik came back to bat the next day to notch up his maiden Test century before being dismissed for 129. Dravid looked fluent for his 176-ball 129.

Tendulkar was a bit sluggish at the other end. The Little Master remained unbeaten on 122 off 226 deliveries at a strike rate of 53.98 and faced some criticism for his slow batting. 

Regardless, this was the first instance when all top 4 batsmen scored centuries in a Test innings. In fact, between them, the batsmen added 408 runs without getting dismissed, just five short of the existing record for the highest opening stand in Test cricket - 413 between Pankaj Roy and Vinoo Mankad.

MS Dhoni then came out all guns blazing to make a run-a-ball half-century as India declared for 610/3. Zaheer Khan was in business with the ball and picked 7 wickets in the match. It is almost funny that in a match that is remembered for its record centuries, it was the seamer who was named the Man of the Match.

Bangladesh were dismissed for just 118 in their first innings. Following on, the team bundled out for 253 in their second innings but not before Mohammad Ashraful scored the second-fastest Test half-century en route to his 67 off 41 balls.

While it was little compensation for their World Cup defeat, India beat Bangladesh by an innings and 239 runs in what was their 25th Test victory by an innings. This was India's 5th innings victory in away games. The Rahul Dravid-led side took a lead of 492 in the first innings, their highest-ever.

The win was also their biggest margin of victory, overtaking their win by an innings and 219 runs against Australia at Kolkata in 1997-98.

 

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