Dileep Premachandran
Associate editor, ESPNcricinfo

Superstar Tendulkar writes the perfect script

He's 35 years old and owns practically every batting record in the game, but you couldn't escape the feeling that this was probably Sachin Tendulkar's finest hour

Dileep Premachandran

December 15, 2008

Comments: 109 | Text size: A | A

Given all that's gone on over the past three weeks, this was so much more than just a match-winning century © Getty Images

As Graeme Swann prepared to bowl the second ball of his 29th over, more than 20,000 people in the stands abandoned their plastic chairs. They were on their feet, creating the sort of bedlam and noise I last witnessed at this very venue seven years ago, when Harbhajan Singh's squirt past point clinched the most famous of India's series victories. Swann bowled. The batsman came forward and patted the ball back with almost exaggerated flourish. The crowd was momentarily quieted but the primal scream started again as Swann went back to his mark.

Again, there was sharp turn, but the paddle-sweep that greeted the ball was emphatic. As it streaked to fine leg, the batsman ran down the pitch and punched the air in celebration, before being held aloft by his equally delighted partner. He's 35 years old and owns practically every batting record in the game, but you couldn't escape the feeling that this was probably Sachin Tendulkar's finest hour.

To score the winning runs in a record-shattering chase was special enough, but when that last stroke also brought up your 41st century, it became ineffably so. Boyhood dreams are made of this, and it says a lot about Tendulkar that he has never lost that child-like passion for the game.

Even in a world where cricket was played in isolation, this would have been a breathtaking effort. Given all that's gone on over the past three weeks though, this was so much more than just a match-winning century. Kevin Pietersen said it best after the game. "Who can write Sachin Tendulkar's scripts any better?," he asked. "The man from Mumbai came in and scored a sensational hundred. He batted like a superstar."

Those that reckon this will heal the wounds of the past don't know Tendulkar well enough though. The scabs of Barbados 1997 and Chepauk 1999 will always be there, especially given he had done so much in both games to take India towards victory. As the years passed, theories and opinions came and went, with people pointing to the absence of a defining fourth-innings knock from the Tendulkar repertoire. Brian Lara had the peerless unbeaten 153 at the Kensington Oval. What did Tendulkar have to offer as response?

An awful lot really, but those intent on nitpicking will inevitably find a way. As the afternoon progressed though, the feeling intensified that we were witnessing something extraordinary. With Pietersen not inclined to crowd the batsmen with close-in fielders, Tendulkar was more than happy to pick off the runs with a nudge here, a deflection there and the odd paddle-sweep for variety.

The contrast with Virender Sehwag couldn't have been more acute. Sehwag's 83 contained 11 singles and two twos, whereas 61 of Tendulkar's runs came in singles (45) or twos. It was a consummate innings. He defended purposefully, especially against the always menacing Andrew Flintoff, but there was no getting bogged down either. Every time there was a lull, either he or Yuvraj Singh would pierce the field.

Those that aren't Indian struggle to fathom exactly what Tendulkar means to so many millions, and it's doubtful whether even those that live here really comprehend just how much a part of the national consciousness he has become. He is such a unifying force, a personality capable of stirring the emotions in every nook and corner of a vast land

Though dehydration became a factor as the afternoon sun beat down, he continued to scamper between the wickets with the same urgency he showed as a teenager. It's that enthusiasm that's so infectious. Sitting in the stands for an hour this afternoon, there was no doubt what the only people that really matter - the fans - think of him. His every stroke was cheered as though it was a century, and the chants of "Sachin, Sachin" reverberating around were an illustration of an adulation-obsession that sport has never seen, not even when Diego Maradona was playing at La Bombanera.

Vijay is a doctor who was in Chennai on a short trip. On Sunday night, he found himself with a pass for the final day's play. With a late-afternoon train to catch, he wasn't sure whether to go or not. There was another reason for his hesitancy too. Like millions of other sports fans who have been scarred by defeat, Vijay was afraid that he might jinx his team and his favourite player. But after watching the first session on television, he decided to take his chances.

Over the next three-and-a-half hours, he didn't leave his seat, not even for food and water at tea time. He made his train with 10 minutes to spare. "I wouldn't have been able to forgive myself if I had given it a miss," he messaged me later.

Those that aren't Indian struggle to fathom exactly what Tendulkar means to so many millions, and it's doubtful whether even those that live here really comprehend just how much a part of the national consciousness he has become. He is such a unifying force, a personality capable of stirring the emotions in every nook and corner of a vast land. And in these times of distress and anger, it was so very appropriate that it would be Tendulkar who put the smiles back on at least a few faces.

Dileep Premachandran is an associate editor at Cricinfo

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Posted by shvesharma on (December 18, 2008, 6:22 GMT)

Note guys -- Many of you are thinking that I am trying to prove Shewag greater than Tendulkar.. If you read my first comment -- I have put a question to all you guys -- read the line where I am saying - Is Shewag greater than Tendulkar (I forgot to put question mark "?" after my sentense). I am just trying to convey my thoughts on the two players with different styles. I am no one with capability or knowledge to analyse who is greater batsman. I am trying to highlight the ATTITUDE problem here and trying to explain that Sachin is not the guy with as great GAME ATTITUDE as Shewag or few other guys are. Sachin is Genius in what he does. But he definately have his own drawbacks. And one of them is his attitude. Just recently (2008) he has started to play selflessly to quieten his critics. And also I do agree with 'saileshkc' with his comments on Indian bowling problems in past. That's a justified analysis.

Posted by Lakshmana on (December 17, 2008, 18:42 GMT)

This innings may technically not have been better than the one against Pakistan nor may the quality of the bowlers have been as great. However, this is still arguably his finest hour as so much surely also depends on the screenplay of the performance. After being outplayed for three and a half days, the manner in which the team responded was reminiscent of Eden Gardens. Further, following the atrocities in Mumbai earlier this month, how fitting that the greatest Mumbai cricketer plays this hand. And to score the hundred and the winning runs simultaneously, surely it couldn't have been much better...

Posted by msenile on (December 17, 2008, 10:08 GMT)

ok..so svesharma is a great analyser...and what analysis..To begin with there is a dire need for him to understand the game of cricket or for that matter any game wherein a team is involved. So if 380 runs are to be scored on a last day pitch can one for a moment believe that a sehwag or a sachin can do single handedly. If by being selfish one can score 50,000 runs..boy wouldn't every player want to be selfish. In a team game everyone has to utilize his talent to get the desired results.I wouldn't even get into comparing sachin & sehwag because it would be like comparing apples to oranges. For the most part of his career sachin was the lone crusador for Indian cricket. It is only now that the players are standing up for their responsibilities. History shows how many players can stand up to a 20 yr grind and that too with consistent performance. The team understands what it takes to perform at the highest level and that matters not some fence sitter doling out free & useless analysis.

Posted by saileshkc on (December 17, 2008, 8:23 GMT)

no absolutely not, the inning he played against Pakistan in same venue was the greatest. It feels greatest inning as it contributed in win, even mediocre innings than this would look great in future as team is well balanced with match winning bowlers to back up his run scoring capacity.

Posted by saileshkc on (December 17, 2008, 8:09 GMT)

lots of interesting comments are posted but i feel at loss when i see somebody saying something critical about Sachin's technique and attitude towards game. Some do not consider his as greatest but just look at the time when he started playing, how may bowler did he have in his team who could win test matches for the team? He had played part in the win of the team playing in India more than abroad that was just because of few class spinners in the team. When batsman score run bower must compliment in getting opposition out twice in a match to win the test, when team wins contribution of the batsman looks great.Put all the batting greats in position Tendulkar was and judge for yourself who is greatest. Nobody would come near him in oneday, have not seen anybody greatest in test,just wait there are capable bowlers in the team which makes may of his mediore innings to come in future would look better than greatest innings he had played in past. After all history is written by winners

Posted by yogesh29 on (December 17, 2008, 5:50 GMT)

The comment posted by shvesharma on December 17 2008, i feel due to people like him in the country our country cannot prosper to what it actually deserves.I have not seen any player in the history who doesnt play for himself, after all even if he is playing for himself. he is part of country. i mean if sachin playing for himself its fine till the time sachin is part of country name "INDIA". Dada also slow down remarkably in 90s but thats fine till the time he can win the match for our country. Sachin 100 also doesnt matter how slow it is but its good if he can help the team to win the biggest chase on indian soil.people like shvesharma always try to find critic in the best of the stuff then its their attitude problem nothing else. there are still few people in mumbai who critcize mumbai police for terror attack, but there are others who stand up and salute them. i belong to second one and i believe who believe in the 1st one are biggest threat to our country progress.he is one ofthem

Posted by kantk2007 on (December 17, 2008, 2:59 GMT)

Xolile, even non-indians would put that on their list. How can you ignore the most profitible run getter ever, with almost 90 centuries under his belt? I agree, he isn't a god, he's not even the best, but to ignore him from the all time XI would be a slap in the face. He has endured so many losses over his career, he's been in the limelight when it comes to critisism more often than not, but he still plays as if he were 19. He has been in this business for well over 20 years. Yes, he might not be brilliant, but if Gilchrist is in your list, then Sachin Tendulkar is in it too.

Posted by crick_admirer on (December 17, 2008, 2:24 GMT)

Hey Xolile,I liked how U presented stats about Sachin to say he ain't great,it was thought-provoking...But to say he won't find a place in the all-time XI is BS - and even if he doesn't, that doesn't say anything...To say that there can only be 6 all-time batting greats sounds ridiculous...Sachin shud be termed great because he has a really good average,has lots of runs,lots of hundreds,a decent strike rate and can play every shot in the book and some of his own,can score on pitches of any kind and play bowlers of any type with relative ease...Please name one player today who would fit this description...Kallis & Ponting somehow don't...The four batsmen according to me would be Graeme Pollock, Sachin, Lara and Viv Richards...

Posted by shvesharma on (December 17, 2008, 1:55 GMT)

Due to quite a few responses to my post I am replying back. I don't know how many people are getting my point there. I don't need explanation on what Sachin did. I know he played in the last innings and won the match for India. I did not say that what he did was not good. But I want to make point for 'obsessed' fans of Tendulkar. Game (or for matter of fact anything else in life) is not only won on your skill level (which I belive Sachin is best at -- his skill level). It's won on your attitude. I don't know at how many times I have seen Sachin trying to save his wicket and not thinking as much about the country as much he think about himself. That put a lot of runs on board for him but country still looses. If there are critics -- it's for a reason. People who can't accept this truth are the ones who love Sachin too much due to his perfection of the game. But being a perfectionist does not necessarly means that you are the best player that a team needs. Plz rply with 'sensible' comnts

Posted by AyrtonS on (December 17, 2008, 1:49 GMT)

Tendulkar has made so many people in India and around the world happy on so many different occasions. I like to think of him as "little Krishna" he is truly a special person.

In all their sorrow, he has given the people of Bombay some thing to smile about.

Way to go "little Krishna".

Posted by magescreen on (December 17, 2008, 0:24 GMT)

I think whatever said and done. The whole English team should be commended, along with their board. What would have happened if they refused to play in India? But yet again I have small doubt, would they(English Team) come back from a 6 0 ODI defeat if this was happened in Sri lanka. I doubt so.

Posted by YoBro on (December 16, 2008, 20:17 GMT)

He-he Xollie...that was funny, Gilchrist in an all-time World XI?? You weren't serious were you? Oh well, if you were, we know now better than to take you seriously.

Posted by amitkingoftheworld on (December 16, 2008, 20:10 GMT)

Firstly, I would like to say it was a fantastic innings, a great one, but not his greatest. An innings in a losing cause can still be great as you will probably have been let down by the other 10 players. His innings against Pakistan in 1999 at the same venue was greater than this one, except for the fact the remaining 4 or 5 batsman could not muster 15 or so runs between them, that is not Sachin's fault.When people talk of his lack of match winning runs they are talking nonsense, we would not have destroyed Australia in 1998 without his blistering assaults on the Aussies all througout that series, but they are not deemed match winning because they were not scored in the 4th innings of the match.And Xolile, you talk rubbish as well. Bradman, Sobers, Benaud, Richards to name but a few ALL had him in their all time best elevens, and he was the only contempary player to make Bradmans and one of only two that made Benaud's,and they are certainly not from India. If he is not great,nobody is

Posted by YoBro on (December 16, 2008, 20:05 GMT)

I totally agree with jokerbala. While its provided Sachin with much needed closure and I'm sure it must be very sweet indeed, from the purist's point of view, I still rate the knock of 136 against a quality Pakistan attack with Waqar, Wasim and Saqlain all at their peak much much higher. Plus, he was actually a lot quicker and balanced then. His shot selection and reflexes were also spot on back then. The back spasms are what did him in. It was a slow death. But that's what made that innings historic, magical and dramatic. And what's more? It was one of those 9 special hundreds when he scored a bulk of the teams total with partnerships being a rare thing (he scored 136, target was 271, India folded at 258). Here he had the luxury of lapping singles and passing strike to another "responsible" batsman at the other end. I still remember his impeccable straight drive of a reverse swinging Wasim ball. Pure brilliance.

Posted by cricsand on (December 16, 2008, 19:01 GMT)

@Xolile Give me another player who has had the same desire, stamina, talent, skill and consistency to have played the game for 20 years and have a record like his!!! You won't come up with anyone. I doubt there will be anyone to match that in the near future. Sachin, you beauty!!! Awesome team performance. And good on England for coming back to play.

Posted by jokerbala on (December 16, 2008, 14:43 GMT)

funny, if this same god has a few bad innings the same people start baying for his blood,much like what rahul dravid is going through. This innings I feel was match winning but not even one of his best. I cant imagine him playing a better innings than the ont he played against pakistan at the same ground.

Posted by sneve on (December 16, 2008, 13:09 GMT)

Lot has been written about Tendulkar's averages in the 4th innings. Here is the snapshot of his 4th innings scores in all the matches that he has played. He has played 55 such matches where India has batted in the 4th innings. Out of these India has won/drawn 33 matches and lost 22. Tendulkar's average in these lost matches is just 22.04, while he averages a whopping 65.27 in the won/drawn matches while being not out 12 times. What better testimony to the fact that when he performs, India wins and vice-versa? What stops other 10 players from performing when he fails? But the blame is always laid on him. Well, critics need some fodder to make their livelihood. And the master carries on unperturbed!

Posted by BellCurve on (December 16, 2008, 13:08 GMT)

I guess, NJ Rajesh, that it all depends on how you define greatness. If you were to pick an all-time World XI, all cricket connoisseurs would inlude Bradman, Sobers and Gilchrist in the top 7 of their batting line-ups. That leaves 4 more positions for specialist batsman. The big question is, would you give one of those positions to Tendulkar. If you ask that question in India, the answer would certainly be a resounding yes. But if you were to direct the same question to the rest of the cricketing world, I suspect that you will find less support. Overall Tendulkar would probably miss out, and on that basis I would say that he is very good, but not great.

Posted by bonala on (December 16, 2008, 12:36 GMT)

Who said SACHIN is great..really are there any words to describe him? NO.. He is almighty of world cricket, I can not imagine cricket without Sachin Tendulakr, I feel I am very fortunate to see his game when he is playing, and enjoyed all these years, he is the Entertainer. People might have forgotten how Sachin used to play until he had a backache, Veeru is exactly playing like that and people are enjoying. Sachin has 41 test centuries under his belt, how many would know there would have been many more if he plays a Pressureless cricket? how many people remember in past when there was a synonym for cricket --that was Sachin Tendulkar?? When ever he used to come for Batting, the 90 crore Indians would be watching his game and expecting to save India from defeat, because all top Indian batsmen were already sitting in pavilion. Just imagine, If he had born in Australia, and If he had played a pressure less cricket, he would have had 60 Test centuries under his name.


Posted by prashant1 on (December 16, 2008, 12:19 GMT)

The Greatest.Period.

Lots of batsmen can do a lot of things.But most have obvious strengths,and also clear weaknesses.

The "Little Master" comes closer to batting perfection than any batsman ever.

Posted by mlibah on (December 16, 2008, 11:10 GMT)

comment from Zimbabwe...Tendulkar is a great cricketer guys...come on lets face it, any person has got his lows in a carrier..and we need to look a positives...not just to be critic for the sack of critising...anyway Sachin has got a lot more of positives than nagatives..people can say what ever nagative things they want but the fact stil remains..he is great!..he is very sensible and mature and play his role model personally very well...keep it up Sachin....on another note in this match Andrew Straus played well to deserve man of the match..so did Sachin, Shewag and dont forget Yuvraj, he played a great supporting role...but to be fair i give the man of the match award to the WHOLE ENGLISH TEAM for coming back for a test match that heals a lot of people in India and the world as a whole on the backdrop of the terrorism...

Posted by rakeshdev on (December 16, 2008, 10:53 GMT)

Hello shvesharma,

Do u know anything about Virender Sehwag??? If not next time when u google him or reading his interviews just make sure who is his favourite cricketer. The way Sehwag is playing today was played by Sachin many times..The only difference between both of them is Sachin has got more responsibility than any other Indian player and the fantastic thing about this legend is he's handling that responsibility and pressure from 19 years...Have u ever noticed average of Sehwag in ODI's..Being an opening batsman he averages 31.I am not comaparing Sehwag wid Sachin.There's no player alive in India to be compared with him..Sehwag is also a good player and greatest entertainer but Sachin's responsible innings is as good as Sehwag's blazing 83. Having played more than 400 ODI's he still has a strike rate of 86 odd with 42 centuries and around 90 half centuries with highest number of man of matches.. So next time when u comment this guy make sure you know about his statistics

Posted by Sg.Rajib on (December 16, 2008, 10:40 GMT)

Tendulkar is a great cricketer.There are no scope to criticize him.If any one try to do it,he has to look his records.If any other can do it,then any one can write/talk.So leave him alone.And let him play.Then you guys got other wonderful innings.

Posted by nobody_rahul on (December 16, 2008, 10:12 GMT)


sehwag was MOM because he did the job which actually reduced the indian target on last day...and thats something u never expect in TEST matches... england declared coz of wickets+ they thought 387 is difficult in 3 n half sessions plus if indians tried to made it they can lose wickets too...sehwag rescued from that position and left the score to 256 on last day with 9 wicks left.....this was the 41st century for Sachin... and remember THIS 41 means something like consistency,class,charm and a lottt more than that..which only Sachin has.... i dont say this was the sachin's best..this was one of the sachin best...this was the great century at GREAT time indeed... sehwag himself says if you have to follow someone don;t follow me follow 'Sachin'.... and if u r really comparing...compare how many times have sachin n sehwag been out of team for prforming bad for some time

Posted by diehardcricketfan1991 on (December 16, 2008, 9:49 GMT)

sehwag and tendulkar are great in their own ways. The man of the match award isnt given based on who played the greater innings or who is a greater batsman. Its more about the player's attitude and how the innings contributed to the game. If you click on the link for the chepauk game, you'll see that sachin scored almost nothing in the first innings but scored a century in the second innings. shahid afridi scored a larger century and got more runs in the second innings as well. pakistan also won. but at the end of the day sachin got the man of the match award. That shows that the award wasnt given on the basis of number of runs scored but the never say die attitude and determination of Sachin. In this test match, I feel sehwag got the award because he was the driving force. Had he not played the type of innings he played, india would have aimed for a draw and been content with it. Sehwag gave india hope and sachin and yuvraj took it all the way.

Posted by JyNx on (December 16, 2008, 9:12 GMT)

The person who commented below is a wannabe cricket fanatic. Tendulkar by far is much greater than Sehwag although I have to admit Sehwag has the talent to lift the whole team up and get their game on. Congratulations to Sachin Tendulkar - The best cricketer I have ever seen play.

Posted by crossword8 on (December 16, 2008, 9:01 GMT)

I see some critic comments here..Frankly..what did the Gentleman think when he said "Dhoni should be fuming because he and his boys sponge off all the pressure and set the game towards victory and all that Tendulkar does is keep his wicket" Is Sachin not in the team??? aint he part of the boys... Was the 37 odd runs scored in the first innings not in the top three scores for the innings " Is it a Joke to bat out the fifth day in international cricket and score 100 unbeaten runs..

Wud any amount of pressure handling be any good.if the win wasnt secured.. Tendulkars 136 in a lost cause against pakistan was criticised as he couldnt win the match>>> (Sehwags knock comes in the same league. Amazing innings.But what value would it be if the team dint win)

Sachin had no support that time. he went and rest collapsed. Virus knock was supported by Sachin and Yuraj. Else it was a lost cause.

Constructive Criticism is fine..But guess thats not what it is..Gentlemen.Cheers!!!

Posted by bd_ind on (December 16, 2008, 8:37 GMT)

Answer to shvesharma, I also love the Sehwag plays his cricket. But you are totally wrong about what you said. What do you think? How many matches Sehwag will win for India? I think half of the time he scores less than 20 in test innings. It is because India has players like Tendulkar, Laxman, Dravid (not anymore), Ganguly (retired) and Dhoni that gives India to play Sehwag in the first place. Yes, he got the man-of-the-match because his innings set up the victory and also because you have to choose someone from the winning team. Otherwise the the prize should go to Andrew Strauss because its very seldom one player scores two centuries in both innings. After Sehwag got out there were plenty of things still needed to be done. Tendulkar did it with such a calming influence. This is not his best innings. From beauty of it, not even in top 10, but the way he guided the team to victory and considering the condition and his age, its special. I think Yuvraj's innings was as special as his.

Posted by batfreecat on (December 16, 2008, 8:23 GMT)

No doubt sehwag played and exceptional innings,but it must be remembered that in the fourth innings opening is the easiest job.Even if you look at sunil gvaskars record,you shall see that he averages 58 in the fourth innings and in the first innings when the ball moves a bit,his average is 41.To put things in to perspective I would say that without sehwags knock we would not have won the match,but without Sachins we would have lost it.As far as this being Sachins best,I would not agree.In my opinion the 169 he hit vs South Africa against Donald and co was his best.

Posted by shvesharma on (December 16, 2008, 7:27 GMT)

Hold on guys -- This is the best innings produced by Tendulkar (greatest Indian batsman) -- right! Ask yourself -- Is it the greatest innings produced by Shewag -- not sure.. Right! But Shewag won man of match. So surely Shewags current innings were greater than Tendulkar's (as Shewag did nothing in his 1st innings). So are we saying that Shewag's not so greatest innings are greater than greatest of Tendulakar's ?? So who is the greater batsman ? Think twice.. It's not a joke.. The amount of fear and impact Shewag makes to a side is incomparable to any other batsman. Is he greater than Tendulkar. Not because of his cricket. But his attitude of cricket. That's where Tendulkar is considered not so Great. And that's where Shewag out plays Tendulkar and most other batsmen by far. And in my opinion that does counts more than just merely playing cricket. -- Selfish & Selfless Approach !! People love Tendulkar and cannot see him being selfish -- hence the citics.

Posted by Paroksh on (December 16, 2008, 6:24 GMT)

Summed up almost perfectly! It is indeed hard to imagine life, let alone cricket, without Sachin in it. Though I am certain that Sachin is going to play the next World Cup on home soil, I still dread the day he decides to hang up his boots. It is going to be a very hard pill to swallow.

Posted by CRIC-SIS on (December 16, 2008, 6:20 GMT)

A player is called great when he faces the troughs of his career in a positive manner and returns to the peaks.... Dravid, Ganguly, Laxman and Kumble have all had their lows.... But they have always returned to make a mark.... But Sachin is different.... He's never faced a low point really in terms of his position in the team.... The other members of our Fab Five had to fight at some point in time or the other for their places in the squad.... Sachin's place in the Indian cricket team has never really been threatened and he's been an automatic selection whenever available.... That's not a great player - that's a GENIUS.... Thank you Sachin just for being who you are....

Posted by s3ns3 on (December 16, 2008, 5:25 GMT)

Well, after 155 tests and most centuries and runs scored, well, yes he is part of successful fourth innings chase! All those players, media people - tv, print and net who are praising Tendulkar knows his money power can destroy them if they even think of criticizing him. Cricinfo actually lost its essence when espn bought it.

Dhoni should be fuming because he and his boys sponge off all the pressure and set the game towards victory and all that Tendulkar does is keep his wicket. In the end number of runs is all that is seen by history. Tendulkar has got it right as far as history goes, because the moment Sir Jack Hobbs was picked in top 5 players of the century it meant that sheer volume of runs is all that matters!

Posted by cricket_wins on (December 16, 2008, 5:15 GMT)

Well, I am a self-confessed basher of the Fab-4, and Sachin didn't spare my ire over the last 2 years (Dravid is under tremendous pressure, and rightfully so).

I have to say that some points of mine still hold, but this was a match for the gods. Superb Indian cricket. Sachin staying on till India won, the top-order firing well (Sehwag-Gambhir are brilliant, touch wood) and tremendous support from Yuvraj in this match.

Yuvraj has miles to go, and Dhoni is emerging a positive talisman for Indian cricket. Early days in the victory wave, but I still maintain this was one helluva match. Applause and salutes to the Genius of Sehwag and Sachin.

Posted by Rajesh. on (December 16, 2008, 4:44 GMT)

Attention poster Xolile : You cannot score 12,000 + runs by playing in 10 matches. If you aren't a fan of Sachin so be it and say it out boldly. But to say he holds all the records just because he has played so many matches is just ridiculous..... You have mentioned he is 32nd in the list of "Test Cricket's Highest Innings List". One swallow does not make a summer..... Similarly one big innings does not make a career my dear friend ! It's the consistency over the years that matter......... It's exciting when you do it the first time, good when you repeat it, very good if you maintain it for sometime but Great when you keep doing it all your life....... Got it ?

Posted by Rajesh. on (December 16, 2008, 4:32 GMT)

What can one say about Sachin Tendulkar......... It's his burning desire for more & more in spite of having achieved so much that seperates him from many others. But that said this wasn't his best innings though I'm not taking anything away from it. It's just to underline the fact that there have been many more Sachin innings that have been even better. What a performer he has been over the years.......... Personally I feel that his 136 against Pakistan is his best just for the sheer quality of bowling on display that day..... Weather, state of the match, pitch & everything else do come into consideration while rating an innings but everything else is redundant when you have bowlers like Wasim Akram & Waqar Younis firisn on all cylinders.... So for that simple fact that was his best, even better than his 114 at Perth as a 18 year old ! England are never great away from home in unhelpful conditions.... This may have silenced his ciritcs a bit but he had been this great even before !

Posted by angeloambrose on (December 16, 2008, 4:18 GMT)

whoever said that Sachin's era is gone, I think you guys have got the answer now. I bet 50 centuries are not so far away for this fantastic cricketer...

Posted by cerberus33 on (December 16, 2008, 3:58 GMT)

I think there are 3 thing that make to Tendulkar truly special (and its not just his batting record): 1. His love of the game he plays is undisputed, he still displays the child-like joy and enthusiasm of the teenager, something that younger players seem to get over in less than a season. Has to be one of the important factors of his success and longevity in cricket. 2. That he has set world-class standards for professionalism and excellence for India over almost 2 decades. This is something that we didn't have before then and the fact that a lot of the current team have him as a role model is often undervalued. 2. That almost every time you can count on him not only to say the right thing, but also do the right thing. The respect that he has from his peers across the globe is testament to this.

Posted by aditya87 on (December 16, 2008, 3:10 GMT)

Lot of people keep saying that Sachin doesn't win enough games for India - I think for the majority of his career he was in a team which didn't really have any other capable batsmen apart from him. He was the one usually India would look to to make runs: no team can win like that. Victories require team efforts, not just one person doing the job. Sachin is a great player nevertheless, and his record in the 2nd innings has been corrected with this magnificent knock.

Posted by RohanMarkJay on (December 16, 2008, 2:40 GMT)

All cricket fans from every nation should rejoice that Mr Tendulkar is still playing Bradmanesque innings in the twilight of his career. Indeed he seems to be in a lot of ways a cricketer a sportsman who embodies the ideals of long lost golden age of sport of the 1930s or 40s. Where champion sportsman were not just great skillful athletes but carried themselves with a hell of lot of pride and dignity. Sachin Tendulkar is such a sportsman. When he retires cricket fans won't see his like for another 50 years at least and thats if we are lucky. Don Bradman said Tendulkar is the player who most resembles him temperament and skill in the modern era. Indeed Tendulkar is a throwback to the suave and dashing cricketers of the 1940s. He seems totally out of place in the greed and money,ego and bad behaviour driven world of todays sportsman.

Posted by keepingthebastardshonest on (December 16, 2008, 2:26 GMT)

It wasn't even the best innings of the match! Sehwag got the the man of the match for his destruction of the England bowling at the top which basically made the winning of the match possible.

Maybe the 4th or 5th best innings of the match after Sehwag, Strauss and Singh. So if that is his pinancle moment he hasn't had many to choose from...

Posted by Vicks_Ind_WI on (December 16, 2008, 1:58 GMT)

Gr8 Innings' from Sachin / Sehwag. Enjoyed it to the fullest. At last we have got the monkey (4th innings chase) off the back. Looking forward to more such victories. Test cricket rules. To the comments by fauxpas here - The late M.S.Subbulakshmi was one of the greatest exponents of Carnatic music and also a deserving Bharat Ratna awardee - Venkatesha suprabhata being her most popular musical composition. I hope you know what Carnatic music is now..OR should I explain even that?

Posted by bolledula on (December 16, 2008, 1:13 GMT)

I would like to first say thanks to England Team! Coming back to India, after 5nil defeats in ODI's, Mumbai attacks still fresh on everyone's mind, it is a great show of support by England team playing in India. This was fantastic cricket by both teams. Best of luck to KP, he has shown great captainy, also to others in Eng team. Sehwag is fantastic, Gambhir giving solid starts! Laxman's silky drives..wow! Sachin - what can one say, so much is written about Sachin, every type of word used to describe him at all levels, but still.. when I read articles like the above, I try to find, how well he has been described again this time ! fantastic effort from him, team guy, helping Yuvi, talking, when Yuvi needed most! With this team, Dhoni's tactics at works, Zaheer's blitz! I can't wait for second test to begin! Thanks to Sachin, for saluting to the folks who were killed in the Mumbai carnage. Living in US(cstime), watching match all 5nights long, worth it! Absolutely!

Posted by The_other_side on (December 16, 2008, 1:06 GMT)

Tendulkar has contributed previously in his 4th innings in wins like Adelaide 2004, Kolkata against South Africa in 2005-06 and against Pakistan in New Delhi, 2007. His best knock is the Chennai 1999 against Pakistan. What contributed to the fairy tale ending here is the attitude of other players. So in my opinion Tendulkar's brilliance contributed to the victory here after a combined team effort and has emalgamated into a win.

This is by no means Sachin's test as Andrew Strauss, Sehwag and Yuv raj knocks have laid the platform for a great test, like the Madras tied test where Kapil and Dean Jones were men of the match I think a joint award would have been better.

Posted by nitin_williams on (December 16, 2008, 0:10 GMT)

as a 24-year old fanatical supporter of Indian cricket, this is the day I've always waited for...not just because Tendulkar has finally silenced his doubters...but because the Indian cricket team has been acknowledged as the team to beat, in all forms of the game...ever since I started watching, we've always been good but inconsistent...now, I think I can finally sit back and say we're not just good, but special...and consistently special at that...la vie est belle :)

Posted by kunvar25 on (December 16, 2008, 0:04 GMT)

Well at the beginning of this year I was questioning Sachin's ability to win games was slightly pale in comparison to Dravid but at the end of this year it seems I have been made to eat my words in disgrace.....everyone right....anyone that commits a crime while Sachin bats will be forgiven for even God watches him bat and I think Sachin should have been given MOM for his effort....when Sehwag got out there were still 300 odd to get to win the game.....Mr. Dravid should retire or should take a break from the game because he does not provide India with any solidity at that position and from the next game on Laxman should always be batting at 3 with Dravid at 6 after Yuvraj until he finds some form again........

Posted by ICCChief on (December 15, 2008, 22:31 GMT)

I am an ardent fan of Sachin. I beleive this is not Sachin's best innings. Its kind of easy innings for him once the platform was laid. The only difference from older Indian teams was there are support players now that made Sachins life easy. I said its not best knock because quality of bowling was not good. Remove Flintoff, the other bowlers are substandard. Kevin is a Novice capatin. Kevin do not have proper plans, I would think of Steve Waugh, Crnje etc to have gem of field settings and plans. Recall the recent Aus match in similar kind of situation, Ponting did not dare to declare as he clearly know the strength of Indian batsmen. Its an excellent Indian team effort bowling as well as batting. Kudos to Sachins special effort. Thanks

Posted by amarrahey on (December 15, 2008, 21:34 GMT)

Sehwag's blitzkrieg, that too in the fourth innnings with an almost impossible 387 to get opened the gates for the GOD OF THE GAME to come in and close the deal. Doesn't get any better! Sachin played so many brilliant innings (like the one Sehwag played in this test) in the past and set India up for victory only for the other guys to squander his efforts (vs Pakistan in the same venue for example). If the incapacity of his teammates who could not follow up and complete his good work makes him villain, and a guy who could not win matches for India, then the critics are freaking blind. And as mr_goofy so aptly put it, "So, Sachin (36+) has a slightly better average than Lara (35+) in the 4th innings of the tests and much better than the so-called 4th innings specialist Steve Waugh (25+), but still he is the one who never delivered in the 4th innings?

Posted by Nampally on (December 15, 2008, 21:15 GMT)

It may not be Tendulkar's greatest but it certainly ranks amongst his best and the most valuable on a difficult pitch in a tension filled fourth innings. With the match on the line and India's hopes resting on his shoulders, the most illustrious son of Mumbai rose to the occasion. He showed guts and determination and also improvised his shots one of which gave him his century & India the win. Fortunately for Sachin, Sehwag set the stage with a soul destroying assault on the England bowling. Sachin played his innings on a very difficult pitch when the bowling was getting on top after the cheap dismissal of Dravid. Sachin has been a sheet anchor of the Indian Team for the past 2 decades and it will be impossible to replace him when he retires. He holds the world records in all aspects except the highest test score. He commands the respect of cricketers all over the world for his batting genius. Yet he carries this aura full of humility with impeccable manners both on & off the field.

Posted by Aditya_R on (December 15, 2008, 21:07 GMT)

First of all top notch performance from sachin, but even more kudos must go to sehwag who was the first to believe that a victory could be achieved from such a precarious position. Secondly i dont think it is anything great that england returned to india to play a test match in chennai, where the chance of a major security breach such as what was witnessed in Mumbai is about the same as an attack on New Zealand. In India there are only a few regions where terrorism poses a threat, due to the vastly different religious and cultural make up of each city. I do not have an ignorant mindset with regards to islam and terorism, but i think we can estblish due to past ocurences of this nature, this extremist outlook towards life is definately present in this culture. (not to say it isn't present in other religions).

Posted by Nibsy on (December 15, 2008, 19:59 GMT)

I thought Tendulkar had thrown his chance of winning in the 4th inning against Pakistan in 99. Lara took his opportunity a few months later against Australia. Both players did not get a chance to repeat the feat for most of this decade. However, Sachin has made us very proud. His resume is now complete. It is not just about statistics because Ponting may have a better average but the aussie has had a lot of decisions go his way. Lara and Tendulkar have suffered at the hands of the Aussies and the rest with shocking decisions. This is reflected in their stats as they average less than Punter. However, they are better players than him anyday of the week.

Posted by ReactionRx on (December 15, 2008, 19:52 GMT)

I am tired of all the ungrateful people who keep questioning Sachin, who proved he is one of the greatest yet again. Yes, Sehwag set the match up but he was batting in the best period to bat on that wicket against a non-swinging new ball with pace bowlers operating. The 2 sessions of play when the ball got older and softer were the hardest in terms of scoring and surviving which was evident by the three wickets which fell to pace and spin. Sachin's guidance to Yuvi in the middle and his ability to inspire him by his sheer presence was a very important factor verified by Yuvi's comments after the match. The way Sachin batted yesterday was a master class in technique, concentration, picking the gaps, and out-thinking the opponent. David Lloyd made the best comment when he said, "buy a DVD of Sachin's batting and show it to all cricket players interested in playing test cricket." KP could also not hide his admiration of a true genius. Yet it is sad that Sehwag got the Man of the Match!

Posted by Azfar on (December 15, 2008, 19:45 GMT)

I had become a Sachin basher since the last 5 years.I felt like many others that he doesn't really deserve the demigod status as he hardly performs in crunch situations and in big finals. And there are many many instances to support that. But today he has done the 'magical' which we all had been expecting from him. This was a wonderful Test Match and one that has got India back on BAU (Business as usual) mode after the Mumbai attacks. I would also like to thank the English team for taking the decision to come back to India. They have won millions of hearts by that decision. And, Mr Dhoni continues his winning streak...this his 4th win out of 4 that too against South Africa, Australia & England. Our rise in Cricket symbolises India's growing prestige worldwide.

Posted by SudeepSharma_Nepal on (December 15, 2008, 19:24 GMT)

Tendulkar has delivered yet again another riposte to all his critics. He has proved why he is deemed as the master of the game. On the degraded 5th day of a test match, he displayed all his expertise not only to avoid the Englishmen of his wicket but also to register a memorable victory for his side. He was playing with soft hands and playing very late, did not hurry at all and on a couple of occasions even dropped one of his wrists and stroked the ball single handed to keep the ball down and away from the fieldsman. We were under pressure all the time watching the match but he didn't look like in any kind of bother batting out in the middle. Saluataions to the little champ.

Posted by Worldchamps on (December 15, 2008, 18:33 GMT)

First off a great victory and a very nice article, in response to a certain comment here about sachin not being the greatest cos of the number of innings he has finished as compared to others, it is a significant achievement in itself to have played so long so successfully. A lot of players (thorpe, treschothic to name a few) have had chances to build careers but succumbed to the mental pressure of playing away from home. It takes an ENORMOUS amount of passion, commitment, fitness and durability to have played so well for so long. Matter of fact his numbers should be pro-rated to match the others who have played lesser innings, mind you the lesser you play the better your average(Mike hussey being the case). No one has stopped any player from playing and making records right!!!

Posted by mr_goofy on (December 15, 2008, 18:17 GMT)

So, Sachin (36+) has a slightly better average than Lara (35+) in the 4th innings of the tests and much better than the so-called 4th innings specialist Steve Waugh (25+), but still he is the one who never delivered in the 4th innings?

Posted by Kreacher_Rocks on (December 15, 2008, 18:15 GMT)

While I, like several other cricket fans waited with eager anticipation for Tendulkar to make this fourth innings century in India's victory (mentally dreading all the possible ways where the century wouldn't come, thanks to the speed of batting at the other end), I couldn't help but applaud England. Often I have though of them being cowardly for refusing to tour nations in South Asia on the grounds of security. But seeing them tour India in arguably the most severe of all terror circumstances has filled me with respect for their team. I remember 2001/2002 when quite a few players in Nasser Hussain's team dropped out because of security concerns, but this time was different. Thanks, England for making it to Chennai and fighting fair and hard! Thanks Sehwag for the brilliant start to the fourth innings! And thanks Sachin and Yuvraj for ensuring that this became a great test match!

Posted by madmax123 on (December 15, 2008, 18:11 GMT)

Absolutely, Tendulkar is something special, He is different. I think he is not only for his millions of fans back but also tons of abroad like. If he is in wicket then anything can happen. He is such a special person for the cricket world true champion. Thanks to England for their fighting spirit it is always better feeling when you win against a team desperate to win like Aussies. Not like bog down England that we seen in ODI series. Nice article.

Posted by KVA4 on (December 15, 2008, 18:02 GMT)

well written article. i specially like the last para. 1st time ive ever left a comment, and it actually has to do with what harrykirsten has written. dude, which planet are u on? we're discussing test cricket here. those knocks you've mentioned are ODI's. dont compare the two forms of the game, a century in a test (that too in the 2nd innings) is totally different from a century in an ODI.

i dont really care whether this is his best innings or not. fact of the matter is, he scored runs, and to a great extent, he was responsible for yuvis success. i dont think yuvi would have played so well if there had been some other batsman at the other end. i cant imagine Indian cricket without him.

Posted by mrgupta on (December 15, 2008, 18:01 GMT)

I am ecstatic and also a little sad. Happy because India won and Sachin, Yuvi, Sehwag and Gambhir scored for the winning cause. Everybody stepped up. I am sad as i am away in England, i missed the chance to see one of the best innings of my childhood Hero Sachin. I have been waiting for this moment from soo long and when it finally arrived i missed it. I feel so happy when India wins and Sachin scores.... it was really unbelievable the way our team progressed on last day to beat England.... Definitely one of Sachin's best moments and also for Indian Cricket... It helps to heal some of the wounds given by attack on Mumbai.... atleast He was able to put some smile back on our faces.... Well Played Sachin, Well played India... make it 2-0

Posted by archis100 on (December 15, 2008, 17:52 GMT)

A haunting demon for the past nine years was slain today, the victor being no other than a proud Mumbaikar. Who says we adults do not believe in Santa? Only ours comes in a white dress and without the customery beard. When he is on, we forget everything, even the tragedy that runs so deep and raw, and can be a child again. We set the milk and cookie, hang our stockings close to the fireplace, and wait with much anticipation. He somehow knows what we want, and boy, we have been good. Rudolph [our version may come from Delhi] has already whisked the sleigh up high in its orbit, and it is only a matter of time when the final touchdown happens.

Posted by twelfthmaan on (December 15, 2008, 17:50 GMT)

Not to take away anything from Sachin's very fine century and Yuvraj's coming-of-age knock, Sehwag's breath-taking attack at the start of the innings was one for the ages. It will change how teams approach chasing in the fourth. It would help if they have a genius like Sehwag to start the chase.

Posted by StJohn on (December 15, 2008, 17:47 GMT)

Certainly a very good innings from Tendulkar, but a great one? It was an all round effort from the Indian batsmen, led by Sehwag, that produced the result - hence Sehwag was man of the match. Despite India's well-deserved win, it's very disappointing from an English perspective. England has a long tradition of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, and whilst we weren't that close to winning in the end, having only taken 4 Indian second inning wickets, it's disappoining to have dominated 70% of the match and still lose. I can't help feeling that the ruthless Australians, even in their current off-peak form, would have closed the match down and shut India out after lunch on the 4th day. I think the pitch also played much better than expected on day 5: it had its gremlins, but it wasn't the minefield we'd expected. Without Sehwag's rampage, 387 would probably have been enough. Sehwag's the real genius; a truly unique and destructive batsman.

Posted by Patcom on (December 15, 2008, 17:37 GMT)

'Hang on'There is more to come, Watch out guys,,,now that Tendulkar's is the most relieved person of all...He has literally thrown away the monkey of his back...He has once a match (not quite on his own though)for India playing in the second innings;In fact his fourth inning record being so poor even Tendulkar was always preoccupied with this vaccum in his attire for quite a long time. Now that he has tasted sucess in the last innings...sure now more will follow..Expect many more great hundreds to come...and watch out few of the shelved shots of his will be seen. Guarnteed

Posted by KumarVaidya on (December 15, 2008, 17:22 GMT)

Nice Article. Truly the finest hour in his life. Every Tendulkar lover, hater, etc., would have dreamed about this fairy tale ending. Any cricket lover who hates & talks against him outside would have always dreamt about this kind of a situation inside his heart. As it was very correctly and beautifully described by Kevin Pierterson "Who can write Sachin Tendulkar's scripts any better ?"....... and sure Virender Sehwag helped him ....

Posted by Davesh_cricket_analyst on (December 15, 2008, 17:20 GMT)

Well the writer deserves a credit. Not for this article but for his amazing prophetic statement yesterday. Many might not know but Dileep Premchand wrote these lines in guardian at the end of 4th day's play - "Batting with a sore back and just the tail for company (India were 82 for five at one stage), Tendulkar played perhaps his finest innings, a glorious 136 that ended with a miscue to cover when only 17 were needed.The remaining three wickets fell in a heap, and Pakistan prevailed by 12 runs. Now, thanks to the small-town boy (Sehwag) who grew up wanting to be him, Tendulkar has a chance to bury those ghosts."

As we call in India, perhaps some diety was sitting on Dileep's tongue on Sunday evening when he said that. Great prediction mate..

Posted by dijujose on (December 15, 2008, 17:20 GMT)

Great innings played under pressure. Ofcourse, the only time when somebody can commit a crime is when Sachin Tendulkar is batting; even God is watching then...

Posted by nirvana_1959 on (December 15, 2008, 17:15 GMT)

It was a great moment! It was a befitting one to see a Mumbaikar score a winning century to aid the healing process in Mumbai! I watched the entire match, thanks to ZEE Sport US.

Although one more century to Tendulkar is a drop in the bucket and a giant step for Yuvraj it was very graceful of Yuvraj to tone down when they were separated by merely 4 runs and Yuvraj was batting. Tendulkar should be grateful to Yuvraj for giving him the limelight (ot to take anything from Tendulkar; just a little disappointed that media didn't pick on this).

Posted by Rabies on (December 15, 2008, 17:08 GMT)

Great innings are always judged in the context of the game- and given India succesfully chased the 4th highest winning total in the history of the game, a total 100runs in excess of the next highest chase in India- this has to rank as one of the greatest test inings of all time. Add to that the circumstances of the moment- the terrible tradgedy still so fresh in everyones minds- not least the little master as it all happened in his home city- for Tendulkar to perform the way he did is nothing short of remarkable, and, from my perspective, if it shuts up a few of his detractors, so much the better. It was an innings of beauty that I will never forget!

Posted by AussiDesi on (December 15, 2008, 17:05 GMT)

No, this is not Sachin's greatest innings. It is however good to see that Sachin scored a second innings century that contributed to India's win. Let's not forget the fact that if it had not been for Sehwag's blistering knock India would not have pulled off this victory. The media, especially the Indian writers of CricInfo has the habit of of over-praising Sachin's efforts and underplaying others' significant contributions. Great job Sachin! We will always love what you have done for the game of cricket irrespective of what media writes about you.

Posted by RHARKI on (December 15, 2008, 17:02 GMT)

An absolutely terrific innings by the Sachin. He just seems to get better with age and I am sure there are no more critics left to be silenced. It is only fitting that it was Sachin who took India to one of its most cherished and memorable test wins - right up there with Port of Spain, Calcutta, Adelaide, Perth and Johannesberg. Somehow the man still gets the best out of himself under immense pressure cooker situations. A privilege to belong to the same country as his! Hats off to the greatest batsman to have ever played the game post Bradman.

Posted by perl57 on (December 15, 2008, 16:59 GMT)

Hmm...well, not the best but its right up there for the sheer effort in the fourth innings. His best effort in fourth innings is infact a wrong metric to measure his legendary career. But to be a part of the victory is a great feeling. He is OUR man, OUR Hero, who defied the odds, to become "The greatest there ever is, ever was and probably there ever will be..."."The excellence of execution.".

Posted by fauxpas on (December 15, 2008, 16:55 GMT)

nice article..good intent, falls a bit short on execution. then, anyways, the tendulkar fans will lap up anything and everything akin to adulation for this great cricketer.

2ndly, who is the author of this piece? s/he deserves atleast a mention, no?

3rdly- @ ramesh: no clue on the common thread among sachin-lata-subbalxmi(sory, but who's she?)-meant-bharat ratna!?!?

Posted by r.r.madhav on (December 15, 2008, 16:49 GMT)

I agree with 21081986 that the one in 1999 Chennai Test was relatively better in technical terms.

But this is definitely amongst the top Test hundreds Sachin has scored. I have always believed that Sachin has that something special which will keep him fit enough to score a century even in his retiring time - which I believe is still far away.

Posted by SachinIsTheGreatest on (December 15, 2008, 16:48 GMT)

Awesome, no...I always liked my username ;-)

This has to Tendulkar's greatest knock. He did play much better in his 136 against Pakistan but that was 10 years ago when he was younger and sharper. Now, at 35, he has batted in the searing heat of Chennai and scripted one of India's most famous wins.

When batsmen of his age are struggling to score a run, Tendulkar seems to defy the odds and is only getting better. To score a 1000 runs in the Calendar year is another feather in an already crowded cap.

Posted by kjerryk on (December 15, 2008, 16:45 GMT)

I have been waiting for this day for 19 years. I have been a fan since i saw him the first time and have been sick of people criticizing him for not having done what he did today. These cynics choose to look past his enormous talents and dedication and keep harping on those two failures mentioned earlier. They choose to ignore that winning a match does not only mean hitting the winning run, they choose to ignore numerous centuries that the great man scored that made basically won the match for India on the first day itself. But i am glad today came and maybe Sachin was saving it up for the right time and this was as great a moment as any. Thanks Sachin for all that you have done over the years and all the joy you have given to us. Could you please play on forever, please...

Posted by cjbhatt on (December 15, 2008, 16:40 GMT)

Great article. Really like the way you brought up the line "What did Tendulkar have to offer as response? An awful lot really, but those intent on nitpicking will inevitably find a way. "

I've been noticing that a lot of Indian news channels pick on Sachin Tendulkar for what he's not done rather than what he has done or sometimes single him out even if the entire team failed.

And now the very same people are talking great about him. He know how to silence his critics with his willow. Needless to say, it was not meant for them!

Posted by arajit on (December 15, 2008, 16:38 GMT)

I wont say any thing to advocate sachin or his credential I can just say LOVE U SACHIN

Posted by Lets_give_Dhoni_a_Pak_passport on (December 15, 2008, 16:34 GMT)

What a man, what a champion, what an absolute legend. As a passionate Pakistani cricket supporter I have to say that this man is a class above and deserve all the plaudits he gets. May he continue to entertain us all for a long while yet.

Posted by RamboRamesh on (December 15, 2008, 16:29 GMT)

Well done,India.But in the euphoria, one should not forget the way England conducted themselves on and off the field.Absolutely great!True sportmanship and level headed behaviour on their part has seen to that no contro has arisen neither in the one dayers and in this test.Far cry from the sulking, boorish , high handed attitude of the Australians.Whatever the reason, England should be praised and appreciated simply for their visit again to India.No amount of money or possible future lucrative contracts could force a player if there is a lurking fear of risk of injury/death that could arise from circumstances beyond our control.How many of us would go to Iraq/Somalia/Afghanistan.....NWFP of Pakistan(can't leave it out, can I?) for a few lakhs of rupees if we were not sure of returning back?

Posted by hampshirehog89 on (December 15, 2008, 16:01 GMT)

Why did Pietersen declare???

It would probably not have made a difference to the result, but England did not need any extra time to bowl India out, and an extra 10 or 15 runs would have pushed the target up to the psychological barrier of 400.

With the strength of India's batting line up, playing at home and Panesar's ineffectiveness, surely England need all the runs they can get.

Posted by Boodah on (December 15, 2008, 15:59 GMT)

Sometimes, in the presence of true greatness, us mere mortals can only stand in awe and astonishment. Sachin Tendulkar is without a doubt, one of the greatest talents the game has ever scene. Although Sehwag got man of the match for his fiery start, it was the ability to know when to attack and when to defend that allowed Sachin to win this game for India.

I think Dhoni has made a fundamental impact as Captain on everyone around him, and quietly, an unsung hero must be Gary Kirsten who seems to have ensured that India's stars can play their natural game regardless of the circumstances.

Its one of the best wins I have ever seen in cricket - well done India!

And to Sachin - thank you for making cricket beautiful to watch.

Posted by Ash_Master on (December 15, 2008, 15:58 GMT)

Wonderful Article...!Sachin is god,the greatest cricketer ever....He defines the Indian spirit...And wow what an amazing innings(yet another) and the Indian team is really developing into world beaters...Sehwag's blitzkrieg was definitely the defining point of the match..All Hail the Master!! :) :)

Posted by Ellis on (December 15, 2008, 15:47 GMT)

A well written tribute to a great batsman, and human being. To see all the ground staff run to congratulate him, and his acceptance of their felicitations, encapsulates his meaning and stature in India. There are many winners that come out of this Test Match. Not least, the England cricket team for having returned to India and given their all. As is typical with the English media, the team has been portrayed as the architects of a resurgent India. Sad hyperbole of course. Nonetheless, they deserve praise for having returned when it would have been easy to do otherwise, IPL money notwithstanding. Now equity demands that the Cricket lovers and authorities of Pakistan be treated with the same degree of consideration as those in India. A major first step would be the effecting of the Pakistan/India series in January. Terrorists must not beat us-all of us.

Posted by Formidable_Cricket_Team on (December 15, 2008, 15:37 GMT)

This is definitely Tendulkar's hour. His golden era has just started. I know that Tendulkar doesn't play cricket to prove anyone, but for now, he as at least silenced the media. He has a good couple of years left in him. My prediction that he will score 14,000-15,000 test runs and 18,000 ODI runs and then retire. He is the best of the best.

I am just hoping Dravid comes back in form. He will be a key asset on slow pitches in New Zealand for India. Yuvraj has played fine innings too. Dhoni will definitely be happy with his inclusion in the team. Sehwag, Dhoni, Yuvraj, Tendulkar, Gambhir all scoring fifties in the game. India played good cricket. Sorry that the English counterparts couldn't maintain the rhythm in the second innings. They were far better in first three days. Sehwag's blast and Tendulkar's finest took over the fourth and fifth day.

Posted by th0mascricket on (December 15, 2008, 15:34 GMT)

With all due respect, Tendulkar can't mean THAT much to Indians, given they've had umpteen chances to turn up and watch him play Test match cricket over the last few years, but have singularly failed to bother. What to say of an apparently "cricket obsessed" nation that hasn't filled a Test match ground for years? All mouth and no trousers?

Posted by CricketCrazy19 on (December 15, 2008, 15:33 GMT)

This century is Tendulkar's answer to all his critics and doubters. They say Tendulkar never finishes off a winning game and seldom hits a century in 4th innings to win. Well the answer is loud and clear, similar to his off-drive punch, Smack!! Also, to add to the spice Tendulkar reached the milestone on a winning shot and that too with a boundary. I wish I was in Chennai to watch it. But this particular Mumbaikar century and India victory wasn't for the record books, it was a response from Indian cricketers, and also England's cricketers for that matter, to those against humanity. Undoubtedly, Cricket is a winner out of all the mayhem in past weeks. I wish Tendulkar keeps on playing till mine and even his hairs grow white. It's such a pleasure to see him raise the bat and look at sky while thanking god. This also marks India's dominance over world cricket. After West-Indies and Australia it's now India's chance to rule this game. Yet another feather into Dhoni's cap. Cheers!!

Posted by BellCurve on (December 15, 2008, 15:13 GMT)

I had a quick look at Cricinfo's list of the leading run scorers of all time. A batsman's position on the list is largely determined by the number of batting opportunities he has been given. The best measure of this is the number of times a batsman has lost his wicket. Tendulkar has lost his wicket 227 times, which is also a world record. He has therefore had more batting opportunities than anyone in the history of the game. It therefore does raise a few questions over his world records for the most runs and the most 100s.

In order to compare the batsman on the aforementioned list, batting average is by far the most telling stat. Here Tendulkar ranks 11th. Number of 100s per inning is another telling stat - here he ranks 6th. For number of 50s per inning he ranks 12th and for highest score he ranks 32nd.

Overall I would say he just about sneaks into the list of the top 10 batsman of all time. He is very good, but not great.

Posted by Jawz on (December 15, 2008, 15:12 GMT)

Truly a great Test Match. Hailing from Mumbai, Tendulkar through his superlative effort has spread a bit of cheer to those Mumbaikars who have suffered so much from those senseless terrorist attacks. And this to me is much more significant and was evident in the immediate response of Tendulkar after achieving the amazing victory for India. It is really sad that people have questioned his commitment over the years and their memory is so woefully short. He came back from his father's death to play for his country in the world cup; and there are many more examples of his selfless innings. I am happy that he has chose to answer his critics in the finest display of grit, determination, skill and application. A truly great player. Scoring the winning run is a wonderful feeling and to do so in such a historic chase in such unusual circumstances must have been most satisfying. We love you Tendulkar.

Posted by Deb_Rockstars on (December 15, 2008, 15:12 GMT)

Good article.This innings would probably mean the final frontier won over by Sachin when final analysis of his career is done...and the final door closed on the faces of his so called critics. Sachin is not just a all time great crieketer, but for India he is probably the biggest unifying force. Congrats Sachin on the special innings & the tremendous victory !

Posted by ratekhoj on (December 15, 2008, 15:06 GMT)

What a fantastic innings!!! congratulations to India and England as well for a great match.

Posted by arun_abraham on (December 15, 2008, 15:00 GMT)

i wouldnt say this is his best ,but its right up there.everyone remembers players only when they win matches.in 1999,he got out with 3 wickets remaining and 20 something to get.even the tail enders could have got that.but the blame was on sachin.what we have to remember is that cricket is a team game.contributions are required from both ends be it small or large. it wasnt long before that all the media wanted the seniors axed after their dismal showing in srilanka.its not a film to always have a good ending.this is reality and even heroes falter.i beg all the media pundits to leave our national treasure alone till he calls it a day.

Posted by Scube on (December 15, 2008, 14:59 GMT)

I'm not sure if it's to do with the luck / charm associated with Dhoni's captaincy, but Sachin has been proving his cynics wrong ever since the CB series! Starting from the virtual semifinal against SL of that series, he has been making a significant contribution while chasing in crucial one dayers and playing crucial innings in the 3rd & 4th innings of tests! Even the 47 & 49 (in last innings) that he scored against Australia in the last home series might be comparatively small in numerical value, but they played vital roles in saving the matches! But for his diehard fans like me, even if he didn't come up with any of these performances, he'd still have remained the greatest sportsman India ever produced! Just that he is making us even more prouder! Looking forward to the 2011 WC - the one deserving item missing in his CV!

Posted by BellCurve on (December 15, 2008, 14:56 GMT)

Sorry. The man is good. But he is not great. He has just played a lot of cricket.

Posted by CricketisMyPassion on (December 15, 2008, 14:47 GMT)

yes, from the point of view of India's position in the match, series and overall test rating besides his own age and the stage of his career which is reaching the sunset years. Its value to the team was immense.

Posted by ChandrasekharVamaraju on (December 15, 2008, 14:47 GMT)

What more does Sachin Tendulkar need to do to get a BHARAT RATNA?

Posted by Shantan on (December 15, 2008, 14:45 GMT)

A very good article indeed! But, to say that it lifts the gloom of Mumbai is being a little insensitive. Be in the shoes of the family members of the people killed and think whether you'd be happy with this victory. Any victory like this definitely lifts the spirits, but does it cheer up the real victims of the tragedy?

I get a feeling that people will go overboard yet again about Sachin. Sachin was always a GREAT player and even if he hadn't won this match off his bat, he'd still have been GREAT! But, it also shows what a sensitive hero he is, because since the tragedy, he has always made it a point to talk about the people who were so cruelly killed in Mumbai. Hats off to you Sachin.

I think it was a great game of cricket and as an Indian fan, especially so because my team won! I really treasure victories like this when the team is required to play out of their skins to win a cricket match! One test match victory like this is better ten one-day victories!

Well done to both teams!

Posted by Anshum_Bhambri on (December 15, 2008, 14:44 GMT)

Sometimes you wait for something your whole life, never to see it happen. Like Pete Sampras winning the French Open or Sachin Tendulkar scoring a fourth innings century to guide India to a victory. Those tiny little points the cynics use to blemish great sportsmen. Well today, Sachin has left nothing for his critics and silenced them all.Thank you Sachin !

How do you define greatness in a cricketer ? Is it runs,centuries,average ? For me greatness is inspiring people to dream. Greatness is making a whole new generation believe they can do it.

The biggest compliment to Tendulkar can be taken from Yuvraj Singh's quote: "Talking to him was special. My dream has come true. I have won a Test for India with Sachin Tendulkar."

Kids like Dhoni,Yuvraj etc. dreamt of batting with him, like him, winning matches for India. And as people call for his retirement for once they should realize he is the best there was, the best there is and the best there ever will be !

Inspirational !

Posted by jebakumarsamuel on (December 15, 2008, 14:41 GMT)

Excellent Article !! It is always a treat to watch Tendulkar play. I have never missed a match while Tendulkar plays and I am one of those who change the channels when Sachin gets out. Not now, before a couple of years :-)

Even after Sachin scoring a hundred India has lost many times, and it is not his fault, it is the fault of his other 10 team mates. Now everyone is playing well so we could see him scoring many centuries for winning cause. Hats off to Sachin for his wonderful century.

Posted by esarun on (December 15, 2008, 14:28 GMT)

This would rank among the top 3 knocks that Tendulkar has played over the years - the 155 he made against Shane Warne & Australia back in 1998 at the same venue and the unbeaten 119 against England at Old Trafford back in 1990 as a 19 year old to salvage a draw. Those two knocks were all Tendulkar and you'd be hard pressed to name the supporting cast. Here, there were other equally important contributors. Sehwag's brilliance threw this match open and set the platform for India. Tendulkar cannot claim any credit for that (And luckily the match adjudicators recognized that by giving the MoM to Sehwag). But because this 103 n.o was made in the fourth inning of a record chase, I bet this knock is so much sweeter not only to Tendulkar but all his fans who have had no doubt about his ability as a match winner over the years. For this very reason I'd rate this inning ahead of the other two great knocks but only marginally.

Posted by cricaddict on (December 15, 2008, 14:19 GMT)

My eyes got wet, when India won this great match and also the rightly to say now, "The Mumbai Man" Sachin Tendulkar got his Century and the winning the runs that just dedicates to the mumbaikars who lost their loved ones on the attack. Jai Hind!

Posted by SanjivSanjiv on (December 15, 2008, 14:15 GMT)

The definition of great is distinguished or very important or powerful. I don't know if this was just the greatest innings. I can vividly remember his 119 in Manchester and 112 in Perth which were truly great innings but this one is beyond than those two because it is not only from Cricket's perspective but the terror, fear, sadness, security concerns and England's departure and return to play this series were the testimonial and will remain linked to this innings. This innings has turned Mumbai's sadness into delight which I will cherish for the rest of my life. If Don Bradman was a legend, so is Sachin Tendulkar! Sanjiv Gupta Perth Australia. Email: S.Gupta@murdoch.edu.au

Posted by Matricfail on (December 15, 2008, 14:08 GMT)

First of all Well done Team India for giving such a wonderful gift to a country tormented by horrors of Mumbai attacks. I guess this will as a quick healer for a while.

Sachin, once again rising to occasion and silencing all the cynics who doubt his abilities in his bad times. What a glorious effort from him this time around. England did not played bad, But they just couldn't stop Sachin at his very best. He seemed determined, focused and willing to win this match for India. Rightly so he managed to do it sending warm feelings to everybody who loves him.

Hail the master..

Posted by harrykirsten on (December 15, 2008, 14:07 GMT)

Good Article mate....

"Brian Lara had the peerless unbeaten 153 at the Kensington Oval. What did Tendulkar have to offer as response? "

What about the 134 and 143 lone man standing innings at Sharjah against the Aussies?? By far I would consider that as his best of the best. Here India's confidence level is higher than ever.. Yuvraj was rocking in one day and he is in form.. Dhoni is in good form and is capable of winning this match without Sachin. But in Sharjah there was no company except for Lakshman.. But HE did it. Not only he got India past through the qualifier but he also got India to win. Nobody could have pulled that out. Not even Bradman, IMHO.

Posted by Sudhir29 on (December 15, 2008, 14:05 GMT)

Possibly. This should lay the ghosts of the Pak match to rest and get cynics to accept that he is possibly the greatest bat ever to have graced the game.

Posted by venkattraman on (December 15, 2008, 14:03 GMT)

There is no doubt that this is right up there among his special innings. However, I would not call it his greatest innings straightaway. It was a different Tendulkar innings without those cover drives, on drives but it was mesmerizing in its own way. I hope this innings would partially remove the criticism that he has not performed in the fourth innings. In that way, this is even more special for his devotees like me.

Posted by ramesh_sound on (December 15, 2008, 14:01 GMT)

With due apologies to M.S.Subbalakshmi and Lata Mangeshkar, Tendulkar probably has meant most to most people across the country. Make him Bharat Ratna Now!

Posted by 21081986 on (December 15, 2008, 14:00 GMT)

Without being disrespectful to this one, I think that the one he played against Pakistan at this very venue was a much better one simply because of two reasons. 1. It was a much superior Pakistan attack as compared to this English attack and; 2. Sachin was not 100% and had run out of Partners unlike today where he knew that he had Yuvraj at the other end with MS & Harbhajan to come.

Posted by Gansmith on (December 15, 2008, 13:54 GMT)

Beautiful article. Tendulkar really does unite India.

Is this innings Tendulkar's greatest?
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Dileep PremachandranClose
Dileep Premachandran Associate editor Dileep Premachandran gave up the joys of studying thermodynamics and strength of materials with a view to following in the footsteps of his literary heroes. Instead, he wound up at the Free Press Journal in Mumbai, writing on sport and politics before Gentleman gave him a column called Replay. A move to MyIndia.com followed, where he teamed up with Sambit Bal, and he arrived at ESPNCricinfo after having also worked for Cricket Talk and total-cricket.com. Sunil Gavaskar and Greg Chappell were his early cricketing heroes, though attempts to emulate their silken touch had hideous results. He considers himself obscenely fortunate to have watched live the two greatest comebacks in sporting history - India against invincible Australia at the Eden Gardens in 2001, and Liverpool's inc-RED-ible resurrection in the 2005 Champions' League final. He lives in Bangalore with his wife, who remains astonishingly tolerant of his sporting obsessions.

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