NEW DELHI: Rahul Dravid finally replaced Sachin Tendulkar as the darling of the Indian media yesterday as it celebrated one of the finest wins in Test history over world champions Australia.
Newspapers ran front-page banner headlines to mark Dravid's match-winning knocks of 223 and 72 not out as India came from behind to eclipse Steve Waugh's men by four wickets in the second Test at Adelaide on Tuesday.
The Indian Express had a simple “Dravid” at its headline with the letter 'v' replaced by a photograph of the batsman's raised arms soon after he had scored the winning boundary in the final session of play.
“Dravid slays Goliath. Howzatt!” screamed the Times of India's front-page, with the caption of the accompanying photograph saying 'Dravidnator – The wizard offs Oz.'
“The Wall stands strong as Fort Australia cracks,” said the Hindustan Times, referring to Dravid's nickname for his solid, text-book batting style that grinds the opposing attack.
India appeared down for the count when Australia ran up 556 runs in the first innings, but resolute batting from Dravid and Venkatsai Laxman (148 and 32) and a six-wicket second innings haul by Ajit Agarkar saw the tables turned on the world champions.
It was the only the third instance in Test history – and Australia's first in 107 years – that a team lost after scoring more than 550 runs in the first innings.
India are considered poor travellers, having failed to win a series outside the sub-continent since 1986, but their first Test win on Australian soil in almost 23 years raised hopes that the team has finally buried the ghosts of the past.
“Skepticism about India's grit has evaporated in the blazing Aussie summer,” the Times of India wrote.
“And no needless aggro involved either in the transformation, just steely resolve and focus.”
Former Australian captain Ian Chappell, writing in the Hindustan Times, also hailed Dravid's stunning display.
“India no longer has a cricket team that relies heavily on one hero – it now has a side brimming with that breed.”
Captain Sourav Ganguly, meanwhile, took a swipe at the Indian media for predicting heavy defeats in Australia before the tour began.
“It does not matter what is written about us, but what makes us feel ashamed is that in no other country a team will be written off by its own media even before departure,” Ganguly said in a signed article in the Hindustan Times. – AFP
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