Scoring a hundred in Test cricket is a challenging task for any batsman. He has to adapt to the variety in bowling attacks and combine caution with aggression.
Indian batsmen over the years have bewitched cricket aficionados across the world with their resplendent deeds with the willow.
Sachin Tendulkar’s magical 114 at Perth as an 18-year-old endeared him to the Australian public, Rahul Dravid’s splendid 270 at Rawalpindi enabled India to win a Test series in Pakistan for the first time, and Virender Sehwag’s 195 at Melbourne took the Australian bowling attack by storm.
However, for all these three-figure knocks, there were many occasions when Indian batsmen came agonizingly close to a century, but fell just short.
In this article, we take a look at five Indian batsmen with the most nineties in Test cricket.
#5 Sunil Gavaskar - 5
At No. 5 comes the greatest opener produced by India in Test cricket, Sunil Gavaskar. The ‘Little Master’ was the first batsman to breach the 10000 run barrier in Tests. He retired with an astonishing tally of 34 centuries which was eventually overtaken by Sachin Tendulkar in 2005.
In the 214 Test innings that Gavaskar played for India, he scored 5 nineties.
Innings: 214 Runs: 10122 Average: 51.12 Nineties: 5
#4 Virender Sehwag - 5
Virender Sehwag will go down as the most destructive opener produced by India in Test cricket. The ‘Nawab of Najafgarh’ is the only Indian batsman to score two triple centuries in white flannels. Sehwag’s incredible hand-eye co-ordination and fearless approach made him an absolute nightmare for the bowlers.
In the 180 innings that he featured for India in Tests, he was dismissed in the nineties on 5 occasions.
Innings: 180 Runs: 8586 Average: 49.34 Nineties: 5
#3 MS Dhoni - 5
Mahendra Singh Dhoni will go down as the greatest wicket-keeper batsman produced by India in Test cricket. The former skipper played 144 innings for India in Tests, and was dismissed in the nineties on 5 occasions.
His whirlwind 224 against Australia in Chennai in 2013 will go down as the greatest knock played by an Indian wicketkeeper in Test match cricket.
Innings: 144 Runs: 4876 Average: 38.09 Nineties: 5
#2 Rahul Dravid - 10
Rahul Dravid will go down as the greatest batsman produced by India in the last three decades, on par with the legendary Sachin Tendulkar. Nicknamed ‘The Wall’, Dravid was blessed with impeccable powers of concentration and his defence was almost unbreachable.
He is the second-highest run-scorer (13288) and second-highest century-maker (36) for India in Tests after Tendulkar. Dravid featured in 286 innings for India and was dismissed in the nervous nineties 10 times in his career.
Innings: 286 Runs: 13288 Average: 52.31 Nineties: 10
#1 Sachin Tendulkar
At No. 1 is the ‘God of Cricket’ Sachin Tendulkar. Hailed as the most complete batsman of all time, Tendulkar holds just about every single batting record in Test cricket, including most runs (15921), most hundreds (51) and most fifties (68).
He also holds the record for the most nineties in Tests, a record he will not be very proud of. In his unprecedented career spanning almost a quarter of a century, Tendulkar was dismissed in the nineties 10 times (Steve Waugh and Rahul Dravid share the record with the Indian legend).
Tendulkar was the torchbearer of the nation's hopes for almost a quarter of a century, as he had to live up to the maniacal expectations of his fans every time he strode out to the middle.
Innings: 329 Runs: 15921 Average: 53.78 Nineties: 10
(Note: All Stats updated as of 14 August 2019)