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On this day in 1996: Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid make grand entrance in Test cricket at Lord's

24 years ago, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid made their Test debuts, marking the occasion with brilliant performances.

Rishabh Gupta Rishabh Gupta
New Delhi Updated on: June 20, 2020 12:42 IST
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24 years ago, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid made their Test debuts, marking the occasion with brilliant performances.

On paper, it may have just been two debutants making their mark at one of the most revered places in cricket history. However, in essence, it was the beginning of a new chapter in Indian cricket - a story which was filled with glory and grace.

On this day in 1996, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid played their first Test match for India at Lord's against England. They had replaced Sanjay Manjrekar and Sunil Joshi respectively, after India's poor show in the first Test of the series.

India were down 0-1 in the series and the stakes were high. The debutants, however, eased into the situation and relieved the side of the pressure - a trait which would contribute significantly to the Indian team for years to come.

India's opening and middle order in the 2nd Test had an underwhelming outing, to say the least. No player could cross the 50-run mark, but Ganguly put on a gritty shift as he remained the last man standing through all the partnerships when Dravid joined him at 202/5.

The duo, then, showed immense patience as they fought the English attack, adding 94 runs for the sixth wicket. Ganguly scored a century, making 131 runs. It was, then, Dravid's turn to keep one end intact. He faced an even tougher task as he had to partner largely with the bowlers, but the debutant remained firm in his resolve.

He forged brilliant partnerships with Anil Kumble and Javagal Srinath for the seventh and eighth wicket respectively, before eventually missing a hundred by 5 runs. When he was dismissed, India were 419/9.

On Saturday, Ganguly also remembered the historic day in Indian cricket. He took to Twitter to reminisce the memories of his debut. "Made my debut today .. life’s best moment @bcci," wrote Ganguly.

The 'Prince of Kolkata' went on to become one of India's most successful captains, leading the side to historic wins at home and overseas. He jointly-lifted the Champions Trophy in 2002 with Sri Lanka and led the side to a famous win in the NatWest Trophy in the same year. (ALSO READ: Kaif posts epic response after Nasser recalls 'bus driver' sledge in 2002 NatWest final)

In 2003, India reached the final of the World Cup for the first time since their triumph in 1983. Under the captaincy of 'Dada', India produced excellent performances in the tour to Australia in 2003/04, drawing the series 1-1. 

Ganguly is the eighth-highest run-getter in ODIs and was the third batsman to cross the 10,000-run mark in ODIs, after Sachin Tendulkar and Inzamam-ul-Haq. Since his retirement, the former Indian captain has entered cricket administration. Ganguly is currently the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

Dravid, meanwhile, is widely regarded as one of the best Test batsmen of the era. He was known for his grit, and rescued India from many difficult situations throughout the course of his career - the most famous occasion being the 2001 Test against Australia in Kolkata, where he, along with VVS Laxman, batted for an entire day to steer India to victory.

He gained 'The Wall' nickname due to his remarkable patience and technique, especially in Test cricket. Having played 164 Tests, Dravid scored 13,288 runs at an average of 52.3. He crossed the 10,000-run mark in ODIs too, playing 344 of them for the side.

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