Dravid | Tendulkar | Laxman – The Last Stand
This wasn’t in the script. The series was supposed to be deadlocked at 1-1 with 1 to play or even 2-1 in India’s favor going into Adelaide. The top 6 were to have fired, with a couple of Sehwag cameos and big hundreds from the big 3. The Indian media was supposed to be working itself into a frenzy over a series win and potential retirement announcements. Instead, the media is working itself into a frenzy over “the obviously over-the-hill players blocking the path of the shining new stars of India’s test-batting”.
The likes of Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma should savor this. They will never again see such effusive and confident assertions of their potential.
In a way, it is comforting to see sport not being obsequious to the occasion. Gorging on an inexperienced bowling attack bowling ineptly would hardly add to the legacy that is Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman. Instead, a feisty attack has bowled good lengths and the batsmen have paid the price for being lackadaisical in their footwork. They will know this better than any of the experts dissecting their videos.
- For Dravid and Laxman, there might be the realization that the reflexes aren’t firing the way they used to, that judgment of length and line is taking that fraction of a second longer resulting in an inability to cover for movement after pitching
- Maybe Tendulkar is letting it sink in that its getting harder to concentrate for long periods of time and the lazy false shot is increasing in frequency
That said, any writer is about as qualified to make these guesses as they are to pilot the space shuttle.
Adelaide will be the last test they’ll play in Australia. While a 4-0 result would be a likely and apt representation of the series, the flattest track in Australia should put thoughts of at least one final commanding innings in each of their minds. They need to think back to times when more than one top-class bowler has stood, hands on hips, a weary expression on his face as the ball has whizzed to the boundary. When their technique has looked impenetrable, their shot selection, immaculate.
There is this scene in the 1998 movie “Man in the iron mask” based on the three musketeers and their failed attempt at replacing the tyrannical Louis XIV with his twin brother. After their attempt fails, the 3 slightly “past-their-prime” warriors break into the castle to rescue the imprisoned brother. After some helter skelter running the three are cornered in a little cul-de-sac in the palace, with the royal guard covering them on all sides. After summarizing their situation as hopeless, D’artagnan says “If we must die, let it be like this…” as he holds his sword, tip on the floor in the center of the circle formed by his comrades. A brief pause ensues as his old friends realize what he means and place their own swords in the circle. A moment later they raise their swords, let out a blood-curdling war cry and charge the regiment arrayed against them. The captain of the regiment, a student of D’artagnan himself sees the charging musketeers, says quietly, almost to himself “What magnificent valor!“.
Adelaide 2012. Fluent stroke-filled 100s for Tendulkar and Laxman and a typically stodgy, “I’m not getting out come hell or high water” 100 from Dravid.
“What magnificent valor!”
They owe it, not to us, but to themselves. At least that’s what my script says.