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Anand Vasu in Delhi
December 10, 2005
At exactly 16:44:19, in fading light on the first day of the second Test against Sri Lanka, at the Feroz Shah Kotla Sachin Tendulkar became Test cricket's most prolific century scorer. With a flick through square-leg off Chaminda Vaas he reached his 35th Test century, going past Sunil Gavaskar's record of 34 Test centuries. Gavaskar's record had stood for 22 years. Gavaskar became the scorer of the highest number of Test centuries in 1983, and scored his last century in December 1986, against Sri Lanka.
As soon as Tendulkar reached his century, which included 13 fours and one straight six, and came off 177 balls, play was stopped for bad light with the score on 245 for 3 off 75.4 overs. Tendulkar was not out on an even 100, and had spent 279 minutes at the crease. Sourav Ganguly was the non-striker, on 39, and the partnership was worth 112 runs.
On reaching his hundred Tendulkar celebrated with uncharacteristic abandon, raising his bat to the skies, looking up and holding the pose for a long moment before touching his chest with the bat. He then acknowledged the cheers of the crowd before turning to the dressing-room and raising his bat in the direction of his team.
The Indian team was already out on the balcony, in a state of readiness for the moment: Anil Kumble had his camera out, ready to capture the moment, while Rahul Dravid, Greg Chappell and others watched in rapt attention.
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