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'Incredible for an 18-year-old'
Part six: Ian Chappell picks the best centuries he has watched. No. 6: Sachin Tendulkar's taming of the WACA pitch in 1992 (00:00)
Producer: Ranjit Shinde
August 21, 2012
Sachin Tendulkar, 114 v Australia, WACA, 1992
'Incredible for an 18-year-old'August 21, 2012
The first chance I actually got to see Sachin Tendulkar bat live was in the 1991-92 series, when India came to Australia. India finished up losing the series 4-0, but Tendulkar left a large impression on me.
Firstly, he got the 148 in Sydney. That was a magnificent innings. The guy was only 18 years of age, and when you think of the contrasting pitches, coming from India, where the bounce is much lower, to Australia, where the bounce is much higher - that, to me, is one of the toughest adjustments you've got to make as a batsman. To me it's always much easier to adjust from the higher bounce to the lower bounce. Going the other way must be an enormous adjustment, and fortunately I never had to do it. And to do it as an 18-year-old kid, I thought was incredible. So I was highly impressed with Tendulkar when he got 148 in Sydney.
He went to Perth, and I thought this would be really interesting, being a short player. There is no other like that - it's unique, the WACA pitch, with its bounce, particularly at that stage. It has come down a little bit since then but in those days it used to bounce a lot.
I have seen Australian players who played Sheffield Shield cricket play a few innings at the WACA. It usually takes them a few innings to adjust to the WACA if they are not from Western Australia. Here is this 18-year-old kid, he comes to Perth and he makes 114. Okay, he got more runs in Sydney, but to me the innings in Perth was more impressive because here is a kid, coming from low-bouncing pitches to the highest bouncing and the fastest pitch in the world - totally unique conditions. He makes all the adjustments and scores 114.
He was such a good player off the back foot. The shot that always stands out for me with Tendulkar is when he goes on the back foot and just punches down the ground. There is no follow-through with it. Boom! Just a punch. His timing was so good, and he used that shot a lot in Perth. It's not the easiest shot in the world to play on the normal-bouncing pitches, but on the extra bounce of Perth, for a short guy… it's a very, very tough shot to play.
As I say, I was impressed with Tendulkar after I saw the 148 in Sydney, but boy, I was even more impressed when he got that 114 in Perth. That was a remarkable knock for a player of great experience, but for an 18-year-old, it was incredible.
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