'I didn't look at the scoreboard' - Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar admitted that he hadn't looked at the scoreboard when he was in the nineties, not wanting to think of missing out on a hundred yet again. Tendulkar endured seven scores in the nineties in the last year and said he would savour this hundred as a special one.
"It was a little different this time because in 2007 I missed a lot of hundreds and I didn't want that to continue," he said referring to his string of dismissals in the nineties, including three on 99. "I wanted to move on and the beginning of the new year is extremely important. It came at the right time so I am happy about that.
"I didn't look at the scoreboard, to be honest. I was just sharing my opinion with Harbhajan about how to go on with the innings and build our partnership and continue and that was the prime focus. That kept my mind pre-occupied with a lot of things."
Harbhajan joined Tendulkar after a mini-collapse, when India lost four wickets for 52 runs in 14.5 overs. "I had to re-think the strategy as we lost four wickets in that period. We had to plan little different. One big partnership was important."
The striking feature of this innings was Tendulkar's decision to trust the tailenders, even if it was No. 11 Ishant Sharma, who's previous 13 first-class innings had produced just 15 runs. "It was our strategy," he said. "For me there was just one fielder at gully saving one otherwise all were virtually on the boundary line or half-way down. To try something stupid and get out would have been unwise.
"I thought if runs had come earlier with Harbhajan and RP Singh, the same strategy should be applied. Ishant scored some important 23-24 runs. What eventually matters is the partnership and not who takes the initiative. We had these calculations going our way."
Tendulkar's innings was greeted with such a tremendous response that it often appeared he was the home batsman. "I am very happy with the way the crowd have supported us. Australians are known for that, they enjoy good cricket, they enjoy competitive cricket and it makes the players feel it's worthwhile to have the spectators to enjoy the game in the right spirit. They know and understand the game very well. It was truly a pleasure to be out there in the middle and get runs in front of the Australian crowd."
Was the SCG, where he now averages 326, his favourite ground? "It is one of my favourite grounds," he said. "I've enjoyed batting here and it has truly been a memorable one. Sometimes you walk on the field and it gives you good feelings. It is one of those grounds."
Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is an assistant editor at Cricinfo