Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sachin Tendulkar: A look back at 15 of his best hundreds

1. 241* vs Australia in Sydney, January 2-6 2004
Sachin Tendulkar's form against Australia in the 2003-04 series was well below par. Going into the 4th and final Test in Sydney, the Master Blaster had a big score due. In what was Steve Waugh's final Test for Australia, Sachin could not have chosen a better stage to return to form.

Coming out to bat at 128/2, Sachin cut down on his off-side play and was content to play drives and pulls for runs. He looked edgy initially but soon settled down as the runs began to flow.

In company of VVS Laxman who scored 178, Sachin added 353 runs for the 4th wicket. The Aussie bowlers had no clue where to bowl as he plundered them for runs. While it was not a traditional Sachin innings, it was special as here was a man who was adjusting his natural game for the sake of the team. He finished unbeaten on 241 and in the process, went on to complete 9000 runs in Tests. This would remain his highest score until he hit 248* against Bangladesh in December 2004.

India amassed a huge 705/7 and bowled out the hosts for 474 which they scored thanks to Simon Katich's 125. The Indians chose not to enforce the follow-on and set Australia a target of 443. It took some doggged resistance from Steve Waugh (80) and Simon Katich (77 not out) to bring down the curtain at 357/6. The series would be level 1-1.

2. 136 vs Pakistan in Chennai, January 28-31 1999
It was one of those fairytale innings which, sadly, did not have a happy ending.

In the first Test of the home series against Pakistan in 1999 in Chennai, India were set a target of 271 to win. Pakistan's speedsters Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis rocked the Indian top order to leave them tottering at 82/5.

India seemed to be done and dusted, but Sachin had other ideas.

In a 136-run stand for the sixth wicket with Nayan Mongia, India slowly but surely started to push towards the target. Sachin was merciless in his approach as he dealt with spinners and seamers with equal disdain. He reached his fifty and hundred displaying the confidence that set  him apart from the other batsmen.

Even after Mongia fell for 52, Sachin continued to punish the bowlers. Finally a mistimed shot off Saqlain Mushtaq resulted in his departure on 136 with 17 still needed and 3 wickets in hand. Sadly, his wicket triggered a collapse that saw India lose their last 4 wickets for four runs and end on 258. The margin of victory for Pakistan was ultimately 12 runs. Sachin not only battled the Pakistan bowlers, but also a bad back as he needed treatment on the field. He nevertheless continued to play his shots and almost took India over the line in a case of so near yet so far.

3. 119 vs England in Old Trafford, August 9-14 1990
The first Test hundred is always special, and it is all the more special if it saves a team from defeat. Sachin's hour of reckoning came in the 2nd Test against England at Old Trafford in 1990. His talent was never in doubt, but it was here that he first announced his presence on the big stage.

It was a high scoring game as England piled up 519 with centuries from Graham Gooch (116), Michael Atherton (131) and Robin Smith (121 not out). India responded in kind with 432 as skipper Mohammad Azharuddin led from the front with 179. England declared at 320/4 in their second innings to set India 408 to win. Sachin came out to bat at 109/4 and was middling the ball from the very start. At 183/6, India were facing certain defeat when Sachin and Manoj Prabhakar added 160 runs for the seventh wicket to save the game. Sachin looked at ease while batting and reached his first Test hundred. His innings consisted of 17 fours and was intrumental in allowing India to escape with a draw.

4. 114 vs Australia in Perth, February 1-5 1992    
In the fifth Test against Australia in 1992, the Indian batsmen were unable to come to terms with the bouncy WACA pitch at Perth. Only Sachin Tendulkar stood tall as he hit 114 while his partners struggled to cope with the hostile pace bowling. He was the only one who could take on the Australians and it was a clear indication that this was greatness in the making. Unfortunately, while his innings did give India some respect in the first innings, it did not prevent them from losing the match by 300 runs and the series 4-0.

5. 146 vs South Africa in Cape Town, January 2-6 2011
Sachin's last Test hundred came in the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town in 2011. After South Africa's innings had ended at 362, India needed their batsmen to come good. Sachin did exactly that as he hit his second hundred of the series. Seventeen fours and two sixes punctuated his innings as he severely dealt with the likes of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel. In the end, India managed a lead of just 2 runs and the match would end in a dull draw. However, it was Sachin's innings that kept India afloat as the middle and lower order failed to deliver at critical junctures. The series ended at 1-1.

6. 103 vs England in Chennai, December 11-15 2008
What made this innings special was the fact that Sachin finished it off for India and took them over the line of victory.

The first Test against England in Chennai in 2008 was India's first game after the Mumbai terror attacks. In a bold declaration, Kevin Pietersen set India 387 to win. After the initial platform had been set by Gautam Gambhir (66) and Virender Sehwag (83), Sachin took over. In the company of Yuvraj Singh (85 not out), he added 163 runs for the 5th wicket. His innings came off 196 balls, and the best part was that the winning runs also brought up his century. Sachin dedicated this century to the victims of the Mumbai terror attacks!

7. 155 vs Australia in Chennai, March 6-10 1998
The most anticipated duel was seen in the course of this innings between Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne. Sachin fell to Warne for just four in the first innings as India conceded a lead of 71 runs.

In the second innings, he resorted to playing Warne against the turn on the on side to upset the leggie's line and length. Sachin's assault began right from the word go and that meant India had a chance to push for a big lead. The innings included 14 boundaries and four hits over the top. His 155 not out came off 191 balls and guided India to 418/4. Australia capitulated for 168 in their run-chase, giving India a 179-run win. They would ultimately win the series 2-1.


1. 200 vs South Africa in Gwalior, February 24 2010
Sachin Tendulkar created history to become the first batsman to hit a double hundred in ODIs!

On a flat deck in Gwalior in the second ODI against South Africa, Sachin was on the attack from the first ball. He looked unstoppable as he batted like a man possessed. While Sachin's hundred came off just 90 balls, the next 100 runs came off a mere 57 deliveries. He tore into the South African bowlers and reached his double ton off 147 balls. India ended with 401/3 and would win the game by 153 runs. The series was ultimately won 2-1. 25 boundaries and three sixes saw Sachin demolish the opposition as there was no field that could be set to contain him. He would hold this record for almost 2 years until Virender Sehwag scored 219 against West Indies in December 2011.

2. 143 vs Australia in Sharjah, April 22 1998
This was the innings that would go down as 'Desert Storm' in the history of ODI cricket!

After Australia had posted an imposing 284/7 and a sandstorm had altered the match calculations, India had to get 237 to qualify for the final from 46 overs. With the second highest score being just 35 by Nayan Mongia, Sachin launched into a vicious counter-attack.

Nine fours and five sixes saw him knock the stuffings out of the Australian bowlers. His sixes into the Sharjah stands became part of cricket folklore. By the time Sachin fell for 143 off 131 balls, India had already made it to the final, though they would end up losing the game. In the final, Sachin hit 134 to win the tournament, but that innings was nothing compared to 'Desert Storm'.

3. 175 vs Australia at Hyderabad, November 5 2009
This innings was yet another instance of how Sachin Tendulkar brought India close to a win, but could not deliver the final blow!

Australia had piled up 350/4 thanks to Shaun Marsh's 112. In reply, Sehwag and Sachin gave India a good start. After Sehwag's departure, Sachin took over. Even as wickets fell around him, he kept the run-rate up and was scoring runs at will all over the park. His innings came off 141 balls, with 19 fours and four sixes.

Sachin looked set to take his team to victory but was dismissed still needing 19 to win. India still ran Australia close and were bowled out for 347. The 3 runs proved to be crucial in the context of the series, as Australia won it 4-2. The innings nonetheless once again had a stamp of class and a message that he was only getting better.

4. 104 vs Zimbabwe in Benoni, February 9 1997
This innings came at a time when Sachin Tendulkar was still establishing himself as the best ODI batsman.

Set 241 to win in 40.5 overs against Zimbabwe in Benoni, to earn a place in the tri-series final vs South Africa, India needed their skipper to fire and that is just what he did. With a range of shots all around the wicket, Sachin hit 104 from 97 balls. His attack early on allowed Ajay Jadeja (56 not out) and Robin Singh (38 not out) to take India home.
5. 163 (retired) vs New Zealand in Christchurch, March 8 2009
Age is just a number and Sachin Tendulkar is the best example to prove it as far as batting is concerned!

In the third ODI vs New Zealand in Christchurch, Sachin's blazing knock of 163 from 133 balls shattered the confidence of the Kiwi bowlers. He was relentless in his approach as the bowlers could not set a field. Sixteen fours and five sixes destroyed the hosts and India scored 392/4. Sachin had to retire and his innings was unfinished, but it was enough for India to win the game by 58 runs.

6. 141 vs Australia in Dhaka, October 28 1998
1998 was the year that saw Sachin Tendulkar at his best as an ODI batsman!

An innings that could be best described as amazing came against Australia in Dhaka in the Mini World Cup that year. Having lost 2 quick wickets, Sachin took the attack to the Aussies as India started to build up the runs. His 128-ball 141 was graced with 13 fours and three sixes and it helped India score 307/8. Sachin then took four wickets in a superb display with both bat and ball to give India victory by 44 runs.

7. 117* vs Australia in Sydney, March 2 2008
In what was his first hundred against Australia in an ODI Down Under and it came when the team really needed it!

Set 240 runs to win the first final of the CB series in 2008 at Sydney, Sachin took on Brett Lee without holding anything back. His 117 not out had 10 beautiful fours and it was enough to take India to a six-wicket win. He got able support from Rohit Sharma who hit 66. He would score 91 in the second final which India won to claim the tri-series.


100* vs Kochi Tuskers Kerala on April 15 2011 in a loss at Wankhede

This was Sachin Tendulkar's only century in the Indian Premier League. His century came against the Kochi Tuskers in the 2011 edition on his home ground in Mumbai. His hundred came off 66 balls, that had 12 fours and three sixes and helped Mumbai Indians to 182/2.

It would go in vain as Kochi romped home by 8 wickets, riding on Brendon McCullum's 81 and Mahela Jayawardene's 56. This is the only century scored by Sachin Tendulkar is this format.
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