India break the Bangalore jinx
It took India 31 years and five Tests to break their jinx at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore.
Having played Australia for the first time at the venue in September 1979, the home team had struggled to get the better of the visitors. In fact, the venue favoured the Australians more, they having won two of the four Tests played here.
However, India's comprehensive seven-wicket win on Wednesday helped them eventually overcome the Bangalore jinx.
Image: Indian players celebrate after winning the series 2-0
Dravid's poor run at the Chinnaswamy continues
The Chinnaswamy Stadium though continues to remain jinxed for a member of that squad. And it is sheer irony that it happens to be his home ground.
Rahul Dravid's record at the venue makes for poor reading.
In eight Tests since 1998, Dravid has just 304 runs at the venue, at a paltry average (21.71). The 37-year-old is yet to register a hundred in front of his home fans -- he has just two half-centuries to his credit at the venue.
For a batsman described as 'The Wall', he has seen it being breached time and again in front of his home fans.
So much so that Dravid and Chinnaswamy have become an estranged couple, the latter being the venue where the batsman has the worst record. (See box)
Put it down to pressure, form or, for that matter luck, Dravid has never been able to put his act together at the Chinnaswamy.
Dravid's performance at Bangalore
|51 & 5||Australia||2008|
|19 & 42||Pakistan||2007|
|22 & 16||Pakistan||2005|
|0 & 60||Australia||2004|
|17 & 18||South Africa||2000|
|23 & 6||Australia||1998|
Image: Rahul Dravid
'Our strategy to have a third slip against him worked'
The second Test in the just-concluded series was no different.
Coming into the match with just one 50-plus score in his last seven innings, 77 in the first innings at Mohali, Dravid was again under pressure to deliver.
And his poor record at the Chinnaswamy only added to his woes, something Australia utilized to their advantage in the first innings.
"Yeah, it's surprising," admitted Marcus North, the Australian who scored a spectacular 128 in the first innings and took the catch that got rid off Dravid in the first innings.
"A guy with such a great record overall in Tests struggles on his home ground," continued North, adding, "Our strategy to have a third slip against him worked."
Image: Dougie Bollinger celebrates after dismissing Rahul Dravid
Pujara's promotion took Aussies by surprise
Yet another Dravid failure at the Chinnaswamy forced the think-tank to rethink strategies. And when Virender Sehwag was out early in the Indian second innings, the home team did the unimaginable.
Dravid was dropped down the order, from his usual number three slot, and debutant Cheteshwar Pujara was sent into bat instead.
Captain MS Dhoni put it down to strategy.
"The reason behind promoting Pujara up the order ahead of Dravid was to have some experience down the order, something that might have been required in a match like this," he reasoned, adding, "We thought the opposition might be taken by surprise and that is what happened."
The reasoning didn't sound very convincing. However, his opposite number, Ricky Ponting, made a very obvious observation.
"I was bit surprised when Pujara was sent up the order," explained the Australian captain, adding, "However, Dravid's record in Bangalore is not great.
"So they sent in someone who is proactive than someone who is under pressure," he added.
Image: Cheteshwar Pujara
Dravid scored an unbeaten 21 in second innings
Ponting's explanation seemed pertinent.
Dravid, to his credit though, took the move in the right spirit.
Coming in to bat at number five, he scored an unbeaten 21 in the second essay, while helping Sachin Tendulkar (53) put on an undefeated 61-run stand for the fourth wicket, one that helped India seal the memorable win.
India's Bangalore jinx against Australia was now a thing of the past. But his home ground continued to be a jinxed venue for Dravid.
Many fans would like to believe that had India chased a bigger target, Dravid could have got an opportunity to build on his good start in the second innings.
However, that's wishful thinking.
Dravid's least favourite grounds (Min.5 innings)
|Colombo SSC (Sri Lanka)||5||8||214||107||26.75||1||0||37.87|
|Wellington (New Zealand)||3||6||206||76||34.33||0||2||38.94|
|Galle (Sri Lanka)||3||6||181||61*||36.2||0||1||37.47|
Image: Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar