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India v England, 1st Test, Chennai, 5th day
Manjrekar: 'Tendulkar's composure was key'
December 15, 2008
Sachin Tendulkar scores his 41st Test ton as he carries India to a famous victory in Chennai
 
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'Sachin Tendulkar is now getting into a zone and carries on playing without letting anything ruffle him; remaining unbeaten and getting the winning runs, something that he had missed on a few occasions' © Getty Images
 
Sanjay Manjrekar: Well that was definitely one of India's greatest Test wins.

Going back to the start of the match I thought we needed to thank god that it rained before the start of the Test because it didn't allow the groundsman to prepare a regular Chennai pitch. Had he done that it would have been a flat Chennai pitch and we would have seen a repeat of that match against South Africa where a lot of runs was scored and the match ended in a draw. As it turned out, it was a great pitch for Test cricket. It had everything - it had pace and bounce for the seamers, it was good enough to bat on and there was turn for the spinners. So the weather gods did help the groundsman to prepare a very good pitch for Test cricket.

I thought England were very impressive right through the Test. I thought their seam bowlers looked very good and their batsmen dug in and got runs. Monty Panesar's lack of confidence was something that hurt England especially since they were relying a lot on him in the spin department. His lack of confidence was very evident in the way he bowled right through the Test.

It was really a match of the second innings of both teams. When Paul Collingwood and Andrew Strauss got centuries in the second innings, you could see that the pitch had something in it for the batsmen. It wasn't going to be a pitch where it would be difficult for the batsmen to survive, once you got your eye in. All the Indian batsmen who would have looked at Strauss and Collingwood batting would have realised that if you spent some time in there, you could survive.

Virender Sehwag's innings was another amazing knock from him. His innings was critical in that he evened the psychological factor between the two teams. I hope Yuvraj Singh - with his unbeaten knock of 85 - now gets the confidence to cement his place in the Test side. He needs to bring in consistency from here on because if he can become a permanent member of this Test squad, this Indian Test squad will look awesome. His knock proved to very important in the last stage of this Test so I hope it has done his confidence a world of good.

But finally I thought Sachin Tendulkar's knock was key, especially the composure that he maintained throughout his innings. When he came in, it looked like India would struggle to save the Test because India had already lost Sehwag and then lost Rahul Dravid early today. So Tendulkar's innings - his ability to stay right till the end and play accordingly with different partners was really the most important factor in winning the Test. I thought there was a lot of similarity in the way he played today and the way he played during the century that he scored in the best of three finals [in the CB series] against Australia in Australia. I see that kind of temperament coming into Tendulkar where he goes into a zone and carries on playing without letting anything ruffle him; remaining unbeaten and getting the winning runs, something that he had missed on a few occasions. He will especially remember that match against Pakistan in Chennai in and will be very happy today. I wouldn't be surprised if he rates this as one of his best knocks out of the 41 Test centuries he has scored. For a guy to have such grit in his 20th year in international cricket is truly incredible.

I think in this day and age of Twenty20 cricket this Test was a great advertisement for Test cricket. It is probably the best possible time that we could have had a Test like this. As you can see, a Test win is somehow more memorable than a Twenty20 or one-day international win.

It was a great Test. Congratulations to England for returning to India and playing a really hard Test. Andrew Flintoff showed just why he is rated so highly - I thought he was the star performer for England. But India were just that little bit better when it mattered.

Former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar is a cricket commentator and presenter on TV. @sanjaymanjrekar


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