Tendulkar, Watson, Dilshan in contention
A Sachin Tendulkar special, a century that nearly chased 414, a hundred in the Champions Trophy final, a ton despite pain but in vain, and a match-winning hand against the old enemy. These are the five innings that have made the ESPNcricinfo awards shortlist for ODI innings of 2009.
Leading the list is Tendulkar's 175 against Australia in Hyderabad, an innings that evoked memories of his more explosive years. He single-handedly kept India alive in their pursuit of 351 but his dismissal in the 48th over resulted in defeat. A few months later, Rajkot was witness to another unbelievable century during a chase. Tillakaratne Dilshan clobbered 160 off 124 balls as Sri Lanka got within three runs of India's 414 but no further.
The other three contenders for the awards are innings during the ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa: Shane Watson's unbeaten 105 which led Australia to victory in the final against New Zealand, Graeme Smith's desperate and cramp-ridden 141 against England in a failed attempt to keep South Africa's campaign alive, and Shoaib Malik's 128 which methodically dismantled the Indian attack.
The top five were drawn on basis of votes from a 14-member jury that includes some of the leading cricket experts in the world and Cricinfo's senior editors.
A departure from the usual year-end awards looking at overall performances, ESPNCricinfo's honours are in two categories: a jury-based award looking at the year's best batting and bowling performances and a stats-based award using numbers from Cricinfo's extensive database.
The winners for all the awards will be announced on February 19.