March 1, 2011

The battle of Centurion

Amrit Mathur
The fourth India-Pakistan match in World Cups was anticipated like no other. And when it finally arrived, it was a cracker. An insider relives it all, eight years later to the day
168

Other than the 1983 win, India's high noon at the World Cup would have to be their victory against Pakistan at the Centurion in 2003. Senior pros from that side - Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh among them - have often rated this game among the greatest moments of their careers.

The India-Pakistan match was the marquee event of the early stages of the 2003 World Cup. Everyone knew it was coming for more than a year, and the temperature around it kept growing. It was played against the background of simmering political differences between the two countries. From a cricket standpoint, for players on both sides it was an occasion to stand up and be counted, another opportunity to become a national hero.

On the outside, an overflowing Centurion witnessed a cracker of a game. India chased down a formidable score. Tendulkar, in prime form, handed Wasim and Waqar a lesson they will probably never forget.

What happened on the inside was made up of many layers and levels. This is what happened on the days leading to the day India has not forgotten.

Rahul Dravid faces the press at practice and tries to temper his comments and control the temperatures. "We see it as an important World Cup game. But it is like any other game of cricket, played with a bat and ball, played over 22 yards with 22 players." The players are under stress, because they must they play well above themselves, yet keep their emotions in check. Inflaming passions either on the field or at home will not be looked on kindly.

At a sponsors' lunch that day, Yuvraj Singh and Virender Sehwag rib their captain and you can see the anxiety within the team release a little. The weight of the match is forgotten for a bit and everyone has a laugh. Sourav complains, with a smile on his face, that kids don't respect their elders these days. "Nobody would have dared behave so freely with Mohammad Azharuddin." Yuvraj offers up a fake apology with more laughter.

Sourav, who has played in several India-Pakistan matches, says of the World Cup meeting: "One of these days, someone will have a heart attack." We often hear tales of it happening amongst viewers, so maybe he is referring to the team.

Pakistan manager Shaharyar Khan enquires about his cousin, Tiger Pataudi, and is surprised to know he is in Cape Town for a cricket show anchored by Mandira Bedi. Shahryarsaab does not know Mandira Bedi (nor does Tiger, I presume) but the two will meet after the game, it is hoped. Wasim Akram, 500-plus wickets in ODIs, is told that he should go for a thousand, and laughs: "That is impossible. As it is I need a stretcher and an ambulance to come to the ground."

Like Sourav, coach John Wright too is a worried man. Neither Indian nor Pakistani, the stress visible on his face, he is somewhat weighed down by the huge impact this game could have on the World Cup. A win will inject enormous self-belief but a loss would be a crippling setback. The key, he says, is discipline, and the best way to confront an intuitive but unfocused Pakistan is, he believes, through controlled cricket. Be tight and professional, he says in the meeting the day before the game. Allow the opposition to self-destruct. Defeat them with both passion and precision.

On the day of the match, the team is to leave the hotel at 7.50am but many players are early at breakfast, a sign that this is not "just another game". Breakfast has been moved from the coffee shop to the special team room at the hotel, to keep the fans out of the players' hair and their expectations out of the players' faces. Breakfast is eaten in silence but there is lively action at the TT table. Mohammad Kaif routs computer expert Sriram with aggressive forehand strokes, then announces he is ready to take on No. 1 seed Sachin Tendulkar, who meanwhile is focused on his fruit and cereal.

Once breakfast is done, the team make their way to the waiting bus, through a side exit to escape the crowd in the lobby. The kitbags are already loaded on. Tendulkar, Ganguly, Dravid, Kaif and Sehwag arrive carrying their music players and match bats. What can players possibly do with their bats in hotel rooms the night before games? Play shadow-defence? Practise imaginary drives? Or just keep them next to their pillows? Much like soldiers, who never let go of their weapons.

At a sponsors' lunch, Yuvraj Singh and Virender Sehwag rib their captain and you can see the anxiety within the team release a little. The weight of the match is forgotten for a bit and everyone has a laugh. Sourav complains, with a smile on his face, that kids don't respect their elders these days

The Pakistan team is already at Centurion. They appear nicely settled. there is loud music blaring from their dressing room. Akram notices the Indians getting off the bus and waves. Both teams quickly get down to business - quite literally, as they descend 64 steps from the pavilion to the ground. Supervised by respective physios/trainers, the teams go through identical conditioning and fielding drills. The Indians are not the most athletic team in the competition, but compared to the Pakistanis they look a cut above, fitter, faster. Saeed Anwar, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, all great players, belong to what one Indian player described the "slow-motion era of cricket".

Referee Mike Procter drops in to have a chat and first gently reminds players about completing overs in time and making sure batsmen cross on the field. Then he switches to the more serious business and delivers a subtle message. "This match," he says in a grave voice, "is a huge opportunity to perform and also a great responsibility towards cricket and your country."

Then comes the next reminder. After the toss, the teams are asked to meet on the ground, shake hands and exchange souvenirs just before the batsmen go in. Ali Bacher was keen to make this sort of statement and both teams had in theory accepted it. There is a glitch, though: one of our senior players questions the wisdom of the gesture. His argument: if this is just another game, why must we make a statement? Why is the ICC behaving like the UN? There is a bit of a delay. The photographers wait, lined up near the bottom of the stairs to record the event.

With time running out, the players decided to just get the thing done with, instead of obsessing over it. A sudden cancellation by India will be misunderstood as a deliberate snub to Pakistan. So Waqar and Sourav exchange ties, the players shake hands, an overflowing Centurion cheers enthusiastically. It is all over in less than a minute.

When play begins, Saeed Anwar speeds off like a Ferrari, and when the runs pile up at rapid pace there is a complete collapse of body language among the Indian guests at Centurion. Raj Singh Dungarpur, in a state of deep despair, thinks the boys look tired and jaded. "Our players are not strong. They need rest, not nets, before a match," he says. Rajbhai marches off purposefully to the dressing room to tell John Wright he should ease up, not try to make Indian cricketers Olympic athletes.

Pakistan march to 273, and most experts think this is too much of a mountain to climb. "Too many," Rajbhai says mournfully. One guest, completely distraught, wants to take an early flight back to India because he does not want to witness another defeat. Someone else, more militant, suggests the team should be thrown off Vijay Mallya's jet without parachutes. Mallya, dressed in white linen, diamond studs in one ear, mobile phones in both hands, refrains from expressing an opinion.

After lunch comes dessert: Sachin Tendulkar, launching an innings like a batsman at nets after the coach has announced "last round". Ordinary batsmen may play each ball on merit but Tendulkar plays according to his will. We are all stunned by the ferocity and the audacity of his strokeplay. Here is a master on top of his game, ill-treating the world's bowlers. It is edge-of-the-seat, riveting stuff.

Shoaib Akhtar runs in from a mile, like Ben Johnson, but when the ball disappears quickly off Sachin's bat, he takes an hour getting back to his mark. Waqar, caned mercilessly by Sachin, can only stare helplessly. Akram looks as if he cannot believe what is happening. Sourav is tense, claps excitedly for each run scored, holds his special taveez (amulet), recites prayers, does every superstitious routine he knows.

Stricken with cramps, Sachin is in pain. Physio Andrew Leipus gives him a rehydrating drink and stretches the hamstring but the pain persists. He falls on 98, fending a short ball, unable to get out of the way of one that leapt at his throat sharply. He makes the long walk back in slow motion, and pain. He is limping. In the dressing room he slumps onto a stool next to the food counter. He is sweating profusely, drained physically and emotionally, staring blankly ahead, his eyes looking liquid. Nobody goes near him.

Normally, after a match-winning innings, players celebrate, shout, scream with delight and rejoice when the batsman who has done the deed, returns. But not a word is said here. Sachin watches his dismissal replayed on the TV screen. After a long time, John Wright goes across and pats him on the back but says nothing. Someone helps him take off his pads. Sourav claps silently from a distance.

After a few hiccups, India wins, and only then does the silence in the dressing room break. There are high fives all around, clapping, shouting, hugs and handshakes. Sourav sprints down to greet the not-out batsmen, Yuvraj and Dravid, as they come in. The Pakistanis, slowly walking up the 64 steps, reach across to congratulate the Indians. Abdul Razzaq and Saeed Anwar come into the Indian dressing room to congratulate the players. Sourav wants the entire team out for the presentation. Barring a tired Dravid, the boys go down to the field. Sachin, recovering from cramp, walks with a limp. He is greeted with a cheer so loud it could be heard in Pretoria, many, many miles away.

Players hang around in the dressing room, to stay in the moment. John tells the boys to let the match and the thrilling win sink in. Some Amstel is passed around and is refused by most; some brave ones have a swig, grimace and move to Diet Pepsi. Sanjay Bangar and Sehwag, the most faithful teetotallers, are chided by a senior team-mate: "For how long are you guys going to be drinking milk and butter milk, boss?"

Others are over the moon. John, usually underplayed, unemotional and unexcited, can't conceal his happiness. Sachin calls home and is greeted by wife, Anjali, who holds the phone by the window so that he hears the crackers outside. There is more noise than Diwali, she says. Sourav receives a similar noise report update from his wife, Dona, in Kolkata. Kaif is in a daze, but reports of wild celebration and rejoicing in India leave him a bit cold. Extreme behaviour is not good, he says. What is this? Sometimes abuse, sometimes worship?

Deep reflection can wait. The team knows they have destroyed clich├ęs: about them lacking killer instinct, "crumbling under pressure", "snatching defeat from the jaws of victory". They won not by fluke or chancy umpiring but ruthless, professional play. Tendulkar rates his blistering innings as one of the best of his illustrious career. "This was my day," he says, "From the beginning I picked the ball up early." I ask him whether an inner rhythm determines his style of play. Batting is instinctive, he replies. "Sometimes you feel good from the start, sometimes you struggle, but today there was so much time that balls close to 150 kmph looked like 130kmph".

How important was the Pakistan match for him? I asked and he said, "I have been thinking about this for more than a year."

Eight years later, India still thinks about it.

Amrit Mathur was the manager of the Indian team for the 2003 World Cup

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on March 3, 2011, 19:58 GMT

    We shouldnt forget Kaif's cameo I remember he was facing hatrick ball of waqar younis at 22 years and he supported sachin so well. his contribution was most vital after sachin in terms of importance

  • Toescrusher on March 3, 2011, 18:08 GMT

    We can make cricket a book keeping subject or take it as contest between two players! On pure cricketing grounds humiliations for batsman are: 1- Getting hit on the helmet means batsman had no clues what was that! If the batsman is Tendulkar's stature it goes against him to a great deal. 2- Getting the middle stump uprooted on the first ball tells batsman had no idea what the heck happened! Bowler was way too good. The point isn't that Tendulkar doesn't score runs or Shoaib doesn't take wickets the actual point is player of Tendulkar's stature should not get hit on the helmet or get out like a tailender as he got out while playing set on 90s in WC 03 yet Shoaib with his pace & accuracy removed Tendulkar like a tailender! Of course there are humiliation for bowlers also e.g. Getting hit 4/6 on bowler back drive, getting hit for 2/3 sixes in row, conceding 15/20 runs in an over etc - Tendulkar hit Shoaib for 14 runs, however above condition 1&2 are far greater blows.

  • on March 3, 2011, 16:00 GMT

    the most memorable day for indian fans!!!excellent piece of article !hope another match comes up this edition

  • on March 3, 2011, 4:28 GMT

    Somebody mentioned about sachin-shoaib encounter and shoaib being the winner..I wasted some of my valuable time in cricinfo to gather some stats.. Matches involving shoaib: In ODIs Sachin scored 864 runs in 19 innings at an ave of 45.47 with 1 century and 5 fifties @ SR 90.18 and shoaib got him 5 times i.e. ~25% which is nothing special considering sachin being the opener and shoaib starting the bowling and moreover four specialist bowlers that teams used to have suggests a 25% as good as any other bowler. In test, sachin averages 41.6 in 9 tests which is slightly lower than his over all ave against PAK (42.28) with 1 century and shoaib got his wicket 3 times in those 9 matches..So telling shoaib got upper hand in sachin-shoaib encounters is baseless. Sachin mostly got out to razzak against PAK...peace

  • ksmani on March 3, 2011, 3:36 GMT

    excellent narration..of the match..

  • Deepkar on March 3, 2011, 2:08 GMT

    @kiwirocker For ur kind info. anwar was droped by dravid who was keeper against kumble or bhajji dont remeber and he was in his 40s and keeper droping catch means he edged and tendulkar didnt edge that and that too vs the great akram scoring run a ball 100 against New zak, nehra, bhajji, kumble and old sreenath while batting 1st and scoring 75 ball 94 ( ok 4 runs he got from overthrow im not counting them ) against wasim, wakar, shoeib while chasing 273 is diff thing look sehwag 21,Ganguly goldan 0, kaif 35 of 65, dravid 45 of 85 tells that bowling was not that easy. and plz learn to respect people.

  • on March 3, 2011, 2:05 GMT

    @Xylo: Could not agree More...

  • CricFan24 on March 3, 2011, 1:40 GMT

    And on the 7th day God created Tendulkar!..........The Greatest batsman that was, is and ever will be............Amen

  • hamza101 on March 3, 2011, 0:19 GMT

    those were the most deadly ages of Pakistan cricket... i don't know why we had players like younis bowlers like akhter but still we couldn't made it... but i have seen India had played events games lot better then Pakistan..

  • candyfloss on March 2, 2011, 19:11 GMT

    Overrated pakistani bowlers got thrashed by the worlds best batsman,nothing new.I also remember rawalpindi 141 by sachin which India lost.Akram always chickened out when he saw a flat pitch like he did when Mark Taylor made 334 and in Banglore quarter final match 1996 after which pak fans burnt his posters. An all time legendary chicken give it up folks for Wasim Akram.

  • on March 3, 2011, 19:58 GMT

    We shouldnt forget Kaif's cameo I remember he was facing hatrick ball of waqar younis at 22 years and he supported sachin so well. his contribution was most vital after sachin in terms of importance

  • Toescrusher on March 3, 2011, 18:08 GMT

    We can make cricket a book keeping subject or take it as contest between two players! On pure cricketing grounds humiliations for batsman are: 1- Getting hit on the helmet means batsman had no clues what was that! If the batsman is Tendulkar's stature it goes against him to a great deal. 2- Getting the middle stump uprooted on the first ball tells batsman had no idea what the heck happened! Bowler was way too good. The point isn't that Tendulkar doesn't score runs or Shoaib doesn't take wickets the actual point is player of Tendulkar's stature should not get hit on the helmet or get out like a tailender as he got out while playing set on 90s in WC 03 yet Shoaib with his pace & accuracy removed Tendulkar like a tailender! Of course there are humiliation for bowlers also e.g. Getting hit 4/6 on bowler back drive, getting hit for 2/3 sixes in row, conceding 15/20 runs in an over etc - Tendulkar hit Shoaib for 14 runs, however above condition 1&2 are far greater blows.

  • on March 3, 2011, 16:00 GMT

    the most memorable day for indian fans!!!excellent piece of article !hope another match comes up this edition

  • on March 3, 2011, 4:28 GMT

    Somebody mentioned about sachin-shoaib encounter and shoaib being the winner..I wasted some of my valuable time in cricinfo to gather some stats.. Matches involving shoaib: In ODIs Sachin scored 864 runs in 19 innings at an ave of 45.47 with 1 century and 5 fifties @ SR 90.18 and shoaib got him 5 times i.e. ~25% which is nothing special considering sachin being the opener and shoaib starting the bowling and moreover four specialist bowlers that teams used to have suggests a 25% as good as any other bowler. In test, sachin averages 41.6 in 9 tests which is slightly lower than his over all ave against PAK (42.28) with 1 century and shoaib got his wicket 3 times in those 9 matches..So telling shoaib got upper hand in sachin-shoaib encounters is baseless. Sachin mostly got out to razzak against PAK...peace

  • ksmani on March 3, 2011, 3:36 GMT

    excellent narration..of the match..

  • Deepkar on March 3, 2011, 2:08 GMT

    @kiwirocker For ur kind info. anwar was droped by dravid who was keeper against kumble or bhajji dont remeber and he was in his 40s and keeper droping catch means he edged and tendulkar didnt edge that and that too vs the great akram scoring run a ball 100 against New zak, nehra, bhajji, kumble and old sreenath while batting 1st and scoring 75 ball 94 ( ok 4 runs he got from overthrow im not counting them ) against wasim, wakar, shoeib while chasing 273 is diff thing look sehwag 21,Ganguly goldan 0, kaif 35 of 65, dravid 45 of 85 tells that bowling was not that easy. and plz learn to respect people.

  • on March 3, 2011, 2:05 GMT

    @Xylo: Could not agree More...

  • CricFan24 on March 3, 2011, 1:40 GMT

    And on the 7th day God created Tendulkar!..........The Greatest batsman that was, is and ever will be............Amen

  • hamza101 on March 3, 2011, 0:19 GMT

    those were the most deadly ages of Pakistan cricket... i don't know why we had players like younis bowlers like akhter but still we couldn't made it... but i have seen India had played events games lot better then Pakistan..

  • candyfloss on March 2, 2011, 19:11 GMT

    Overrated pakistani bowlers got thrashed by the worlds best batsman,nothing new.I also remember rawalpindi 141 by sachin which India lost.Akram always chickened out when he saw a flat pitch like he did when Mark Taylor made 334 and in Banglore quarter final match 1996 after which pak fans burnt his posters. An all time legendary chicken give it up folks for Wasim Akram.

  • on March 2, 2011, 19:03 GMT

    Sachin was simply amazing that day. It truly was one of the most famous Indian victories in the past decade.

  • cric_fanatics on March 2, 2011, 18:15 GMT

    @pakspin..no...we also very fondly remember the latest asia cup...aamir being hit for a six..pak losing...raina carting sixes....vividly remembered...

  • cric_fanatics on March 2, 2011, 18:07 GMT

    @kiwirocker...Luck always favors the BRAVE..morover waqar played only 4 tests against india...haha..doppers aint much fit u know...talkin about shoaib..?..has he stopped being on nandrolone.?...@ pakspin..ya zak was taken to cleaners...but i dont know where were wasim waqar n shoaib taken TO in 99 final...were treated like club bowlers...

  • Toescrusher on March 2, 2011, 16:48 GMT

    Mvcric: The class of player Tedulkar is he should not be getting out cheaply; even a tailender could manage to gone out of the line of that ball! Tendulkar with cramped leg still had advantage over Shoaib since he was bowling his last spells in humid conditions with aprx 100k. Any encounter Tendulkar vs Shoaib, Shoaib always the winner. In cricket if a batsman get hit on his helmet considered very poor and Shoaib has done it several times to Tendulkar! Shoaib's first ball cleaned bold to Tendulkar in 1999 Calcutta test will remain the highest peak of Tendulker Shoaib encounter and Shoaib wins it with the flying colors. Historically speaking no match played between India and Pakistan as great as Sharja Cup 1986 Pakistan won but it doesn't mean India was bad what India did is got the best out of Pakistan similarly Pakistan got the best out of India in WC 03 game.

  • mishvik1 on March 2, 2011, 15:45 GMT

    @KiwiRocker - thank god that Don was not an Indian else you would have said that all teams other than English were as good as Kenya and thats why he scored so many runs. Throw this negativity man and enjoy cricket the way I enjoy Inzy's punches and Akram's unplayable line and length outside off stump. Cricket is a game to be enjoyed and not a war room story.

  • wajahatrehman on March 2, 2011, 15:25 GMT

    Batsmen score centuries. Sachin played a great innings but to say that he taught Wasim & Waqar a lesson which they would not forget is utterly disrespectful to them. Wasim and Waqar were at the end of their careers and did not play after that world cup. If anything, it was Ajay Jadeja who played an innings when Waqar was at top and that innings is one which you can associate with a sort of lesson to Waqar. The most memorable shot of Sachin was the six off Shoaib.

  • prashant1 on March 2, 2011, 14:52 GMT

    What else can you say but " Sachin! Sachin !"........and Bow and pay homage to the Greatest batsman of all time playing one of the greatest innings of all time.

  • on March 2, 2011, 8:57 GMT

    Fantastic article..beautifully written, crisp description of emotions from a perspective we hardle get to read or know about..would have given anything to be in that dressing room at that moment..

  • mvcric on March 2, 2011, 7:48 GMT

    @Toescrusher, you conveniently forget the fact that, towards the end of his innings, Sachin suffered a hamstring injury that prevented him from moving normally. And, he ran the runs himself instead of asking for a runner. Shoaib was simply clever enough to make use of Sachin's limited foot movements to bounce him out.

  • on March 2, 2011, 7:06 GMT

    as a pakistani it hurts thinking of this game and this article literally made me live those moments all over again...great read though!

  • Doogius on March 2, 2011, 6:10 GMT

    @ Yaseen and half of the posters here. Decade? nope. Aus vs SA JoBurg 2005-2006. Century nope. Final SA vs Aus in England from a few years ago. Note India was not playing in either game. The significance of this game was the border dispute, terrorist activity etc. Historically and culturally significant, definitely. Greatest game ever, well maybe if your Indian, suspect its not if your a Pakistani. Or then again, maybe it was at least unique, don't see Sachin butcher a 100 every day of the week :)

  • harshthakor on March 2, 2011, 5:08 GMT

    Sachin Tendulkar's knock in this match was one of the most classical exhibitions of batting ever witnessed in International Cricket.He launched a blistering assault on great bowlers .To me ,it was the innings of the World Cup.Imagine Wasim,Waqar and Shoaib being Akhtar torn to the shreds! I have never seen such a combination of technical perfection with destructive mastery against great pace bowling.Tendulkar's innings was flawless and his drives had the authority of an invincible army.Above all he won India the game.In the end it was Rahul Dravid's rock-like solidity with Yuvraj's flair that got India home.

    !

  • KiwiRocker- on March 2, 2011, 5:01 GMT

    mvcric- Scording in one innings against two of best bowlers of all time Wasim And Waqar does not mean that Tendulkar mastered them. I appreciate your stats so here is some real stats: Tendulkar averaged mere 32 against Wasim and Waqar in his enitre test career. Tendulkar conviniently saved himself playing against them in 90's thanks to Indian Govt stance. Basit is right, If Razzaq held that catch off Wasim, people will be talking abt Saeed Anwar's 100 not Tendulkar's 32. However cricket is not a game of ifs and buts and luck favoured Tendulkar and India on that day!

  • xylo on March 2, 2011, 4:25 GMT

    There is a sea of difference between the attitude between the players and most of the fans. The players from both countries seem to realize that it is only a game and build everlasting friendships, but most fans (not the true cricket fans) take it upon themselves to bash the other country. To those fans, I would like to say - remember, we were/are brothers and we fought for freedom hand in hand. Just because we were separated for the personal benefits of few people does not mean that we have to be enemies!

  • gdurgaprasad on March 2, 2011, 3:18 GMT

    I felt goosebumps..reading this lovely article, which we younger guyzz..who missed out 83 world cup finals..

  • MatrixDecoder on March 2, 2011, 3:07 GMT

    lol:) isn't it funny to write only from one side. "Tendulkar, in prime form, handed Wasim and Waqar a lesson they will probably never forget"...... what a peice of crap Mr Amrit forgot that Wasim got him out when he was at 12 but Abdul Razzaq dropped the catch....... so Mr. Amrit wake up, go watch on youtube and all the other games tendulkar faced Wasim and Waqar; where he was always dominated by them throughout his career...

  • nlambda on March 2, 2011, 2:52 GMT

    @Toescrusher : don't forget Tendulkar was struggling heavily with cramps and at the time he got out "as a tailender" was playing with a runner.

  • bks123 on March 2, 2011, 2:08 GMT

    Wasim was/is my favourite bowler. Wasim-waqar was/is the best best opening pair ever, ahead of walsh-ambrose, Mcgrath-Gillespie, Donald-Pollock..But what a match it was..Good for india and bad for PAK..Three ODI careers were destroyed by one innings of Sachin...Wasim, Waqar and rashid latif never played an ODI after the WC 2003..@kiwirocker, enjoy the WC 2011 till PAK faces IND (if PAK qualify)..Then you will again see some more PAK players' careers over... This time it will be akhtar, razzak, misbah, yunis and afridi...Enjoy the group matches well..

  • on March 2, 2011, 1:42 GMT

    Great article. Hardly get such positive, unbiased and matter of fact inside stories nowadays.

  • yaseenrajan on March 2, 2011, 1:10 GMT

    Definately the game of the decade or maybe in even the century......Both teams are winners! Good Game.... Many to come.

  • Looch on March 1, 2011, 23:59 GMT

    These two teams always "bring it", especially at world cups. My Favourite Ind-Pak game was the 1996 quarter final, it had everything you could want in a match. Ajay Jadeja's back foot, cross bat swipe that went over Waqar Younis' head for 6 is a shot I will never forget!

  • Toescrusher on March 1, 2011, 23:45 GMT

    Without any doubt it was the best game India has won against Pakistan however as a Pakistani I have to humbly say that Pakistan has countless triumph against India! Pakistan entered in WC 03 as a very mismanaged team i.e. Wasim captian or Waqar captain? Waqar is not a captain material. Razzaq dropping Tendulkar is that must needed luck India required to have the result in their favor. I believe Tendulker is the greatest player of our era however from pure cricketing point of view it goes against Tendulker that he was bating in the nineties yet Shoaib got him out as a tailender and if your are cricketer not just cricket fan then you would know what it means. Overall, for this game India was a better team than Pakistan and deserved to win having said that this was India's day.

  • Rahul_Reddy93 on March 1, 2011, 23:29 GMT

    really an great article! and yes i still remember this match every time i think abt cricket. it will never be forgotten, i know i will never forget it the greatest cricket game i have ever seen.

  • khansha on March 1, 2011, 21:29 GMT

    @ Wasif Ahmed Siddiqui

    Its good for the soul for us to have elephant like memories about things we cherish. I'm glad you enjoy the sports rivalry as much as we do.

  • Namelessnerd on March 1, 2011, 21:17 GMT

    @Basit: I do agree that there was luck when Sachin was dropped. But the top edged part of your comment is off base. That shot is now known as the lofted cut over third man. It would have been interesting had either Akram or Waqar convinced Shoaib to cut down the pace and the bounce a bit and stick to off and middle.

  • StatisticsRocks on March 1, 2011, 20:08 GMT

    Nice article, but we need to stop living in the past. At present we have one of the weakest bowling attacks and still we continue to dwell upon the glory days of yesterday. When r we going to learn? On the other hand Pakistan continues to produce top class fast bowlers and are one of the favorites to win this WC? We need to take wickets to win matches and cannot always score > 300 runs against quality bowling that SA, PAK, and Australia have. Time to get back to earth and focus on things at hand.

  • on March 1, 2011, 20:06 GMT

    Amazing article.. Relived the match after 8 years again..Still looks like it happened yesterday.. Thanks Amrit for giving us the inside view..Great feeling to know it.

  • cloverfield on March 1, 2011, 20:06 GMT

    @ Basit Dilawaiz - if you say that the sixes over third man were edges then we know that you are not to be taken seriously...peace..

  • cloverfield on March 1, 2011, 20:04 GMT

    @ Ozz777 : Fact : A.Razzaq did not take the catch and Sachin played an innings which demoralised Pakistan's bowling attack....so please do not dwell into what could have happened...

    @ Kiwirocker : This article is about the 2003 cricket world cup - India vs Pakistan. Sachin's performance against the two W's in other matches is not being discussed here. And Pakistan's current team is united??? Are you saying this basis just one match where they beat Sri Lanka. Have you conveniently forgotten what Pak cricket went through over the last year or so?? On the other hand, the Indian team is much more united ( maybe not too vibrant) and has the ability to fight back from any position ( the England match being case in point). And please, enough already with the flat track bully jibes......the Indian team has beaten or drawn against teams in every country now....I am not sure if the Pak team has ever beaten Australia or SA in their own backyard....

  • on March 1, 2011, 19:53 GMT

    As usual a lot of hype is given to Sachin's innings by Indian media in particular and all other Indians in general. They never mention that Sachin was dropped by Razzak very early in his innings in that match. Sachin gave a lesson to Wasim is again an overstatement. Wasim conceded just 48 runs in his 10 over spell. If you go through the records you will find that Pakistan is way ahead of India as far as ODI cricket is concerned just because Wasim and Waqar were giving lessons to Sachin all through his career. Many other batsmen have better ODI records than Sachin. To name a few Viv Richards, Trott, Hussey, Bevan, Zaheer Abbas, Dhoni, Kallis and even Ten Deschate have done better than Sachin. It is a pity that all these players do not belong to India. Had they been Indians they would have been portrayed as Gods by the Indians.

  • on March 1, 2011, 19:52 GMT

    why are we talking about 2003 world cup in centurion :o wasn't that in england !!

  • nyroot on March 1, 2011, 19:39 GMT

    If I had to choose one day of my life to dedicate to cricket then that would be this day. I watched this game in a jam packed cinema theatre in San Diego, where 95% of the crowd was supporting India. For each and every shot that Tendulkar hit the whole crowd erupted like lava from a volcano. The energy that was there in that theatre was incredible. And when Tendulkar got out, all of a sudden their was absolute silence. It was a shock and at that moment nobody knew how to react. And in some corners Pakistani fans started celebrating. When Tendulkar started walking back everybody recovered from the shock stood up and started clapping hands. It was like a recovery effort after a tornado or a hurricane hit. People in India say that if cricket is a religion then Tendulkar is a god. I still remember how I cried the whole night, it was like some kind of achievement. The energy that Sachin generated cannot be created by a ordinary human being. That day Tendulkar was really a god.

  • on March 1, 2011, 19:05 GMT

    Abdul Razzaq dropped Sachin and got a mouthful from Wasim

  • Gokul_NITT on March 1, 2011, 19:00 GMT

    Thanks for writing the article and relive a wonderful memory. That apart an insider's article about the WC'03 final and WC'07 debacle would also be a good read though not a pleasant one!! I also wonder if there's any piece on Oz triumph in WC'99 semis..that would be great as well..

  • on March 1, 2011, 17:55 GMT

    Lets the get the facts straight @Basit - Sachin's shot over point off Shoaib wasn't an edge, it was deliberate and controlled. @Bone101 - actually, for 2nd place we do get a "finalists" medal. Agreed, the article is shamelessly partisan since its obviously from the Indian standpoint. Would be interesting to hear the Pakistan side of the story as well. Before Sachin's masterclass there was a perfect ODI innings by our old nemesis Saeed Anwar, and if this was the Pakistan bowling unit of 1999 ( same faces, different form) might well have been a matchwinning innings. Indians in 2003 were a fitter, and a more fearless bunch with Kaif, Yuvi, Sehwag and Zak all barely three years into their careers. No disrespect to speeds and skills of Wasim, Waqar or Shoaib - but Tendulkar really was in prime form ( much like Ponting, who emphatically outplayed us in the final). The good part was the spirit in which the match was played, despite political tensions .. unlike the match in 1996.

  • on March 1, 2011, 17:55 GMT

    I still think of that game.. What a wonderful day it was...

  • on March 1, 2011, 17:48 GMT

    Still remember that I was in Himgiri Express that time on the way back home to attend my sister's wedding when a fan like me was reporting over by over scores from the faint scoreline heard over the radio. And superstitious as every cricket fan is, I didn't change my posture in the Sleeper Class Side lower seat, lest Sachin might fall. Didn't see the innings live but watched the highlights next day.

  • on March 1, 2011, 17:43 GMT

    This is probably the best ODI innings Sachin has ever played with his MAGIC bat.I do still can't believe what happened that day! A truly very great article.Cricket needs that type of matches,but we know this would happen once in a decade.Hope once again we will see India vs Pakistan world cup match very soon.

  • on March 1, 2011, 17:26 GMT

    Really a good article...

  • sami1284 on March 1, 2011, 17:19 GMT

    Well, it was a good match and special innings by Sachin. Let's now have an article that haunted India until that day - the game where Javed Miandad hit the last ball 6.

  • witchking on March 1, 2011, 17:15 GMT

    In came Sachin R Tendulkar and V Sehwag to bat.The atmosphere was now electrifying.Wasim and Akhter started the bowling for Pakistan.It was a massacre fro the two batsman attacking rigorously.Then came the shot that is still remembered whenever world cup 2003 is recalled Sachin's cut of Akhter that flew into the stands for a six(Although i think Sehwag and Imran Nazir are the best players of this shot).The match twisted when Waqar took two in two and gave Pkistani supporters a ray of hope.Although Sachin was dropped of Wasim's bowling by Razaaq.Sachin played like a grand master of chess.At 98 Sachin was caught of Akhter's bowling i was devastated.I wanted him to score a hundered not because he deserved one but so that India would loose the match.Yuvrag made a beautiful partnership with Dravid to take the match away from Pakistan hands.The wall stood on the crease firm to see India home.But for something i don't understand i still loved the match.

  • on March 1, 2011, 17:09 GMT

    @Basit : Those were not top edges. Both came of middle of the bat and those shots were intentional.

  • pakspin on March 1, 2011, 17:09 GMT

    This is the only match Indians remember, as if history started and ended here..so much for selective memory..they forget the fact that Wasim had Tendulker at 10 when he was dropped by Razzaq, also that Tendulker averages 15 vs WAsim in his career and 17 vs shoaib but Indians don't want to think about that..in every conversation, all they can do is keep talking about this one match, how about the test match in Kolkata when Shoaib got the selfish dead pitch king Tendulker on zero, or when he bounced him on his Helmet in Pakistan series, or when Moahmmed asif made him kiss the ground and bowled him or when wasim bowled him? It was a dead wicket and Tendulker was also dropped..so don't get too happy oh and Australia took your "number one Bolwer" zaheer khan to the cleaners

  • devalyagnik2003 on March 1, 2011, 17:05 GMT

    @ basit dilawaiz: ahhahahahahah top edged for sixes!! I think you should learn about cricket a bit more... You are unaware of the shots.. like upper cut!! visit youtube, find the inning and look at the six sachin hit in shoeb's over, it was far away from 3rd man and perfect and clean hit! of course you are from my neighbor country! I can understand the pain in your comment buddy... but if you truly love cricket you must respect and admire that brilliant inning and don't ever say it was merely a luck that drives him to make 98 from 75 odd balls! and yes Wasim ahmed I am agreed with your comment that anwar's inning was also memorable, but any ways it was Sachin's day! and No one should ever try to damp it by stupid comment like what basit did!

  • witchking on March 1, 2011, 16:58 GMT

    This is not a well written article. The bias is just to much to handle. It was indeed an event that was anticipated for quiet a long time.I remember seeing the match till the last ball. You could hardly hear anything other than the noise of the fans in the stands. Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat first keeping in mind there bowling prowess.Pakistan started well.As usual Saeed Anwar repeated his habit of scoring against the Indians.For me the turning point of the match was the run out of Inzamam-ul-Haq. Saeed Anwar scored a brilliant hundred near the 40th over and there were some fireworks at the end by Rashid Latif and Wasim Akram.It was a very good score for my liking.Now came the turn of the Indians to bat.It was an event to be reckoned.The most prolific bowlers of the ODIs versus the most prolific batsmen and that in a world cup match.It was a contest a match made in heaven.

  • harshthakor on March 1, 2011, 16:57 GMT

    Sachin Tendulkar gave one of the greatest exhibitions of batting ever displayed in International Cricket in this game.To me,it was the innings of the tournament.He made great pace bowrs look pedestal playing them with the ease of a shepherd guiding his flock.Technically it was absolutely brilliant and few innings ever have exhibited such domination of graet bowling with such technical perfection.I can't forget Sachin's volley of drives all over the wicket .Above all he won the match for India.Overall India displayed perfect temperament and Dravid finished the game with his rock-like tenacity.

  • AdityaUpadhyay on March 1, 2011, 16:56 GMT

    I still remember the match was a aday before my class X board exam but i was more interested in match. What a spectacle it was when Sachin was whacking 150K+ bowls of Shoaib Akhthar for scintillating sixes like playing against a club bowler. What a belligerent inning that was given the context & importance of match was for both the teams. I would rate that inning of him ahead of 175 against Aus..... Kudos to team india

  • nlambda on March 1, 2011, 16:48 GMT

    Raj Singh Dungarpur's reactions tell you of the mediocre attitudes that have been the norm in our cricket :-(. He was a very important figure in Indian cricket administration! If these guys were still managing the players we would still be repeatedly losing abroad and drawing 8 of 10 home tests.

  • CricketLoverToronto on March 1, 2011, 16:45 GMT

    I remember watching this game with a bunch of Pakistanis in Toronto. Prior to the game most of them acclaimed that this is true war and after the game they claimed that it was just a game:-)). I will never forget their faces..distraught and broken. :-)) Well done team India.

  • on March 1, 2011, 16:39 GMT

    Yeah, we do remember it. Nice anecdote

  • _Oracle_ on March 1, 2011, 16:12 GMT

    I was so nervous about the game. I couldn't even watch it.. I stayed away from TV and boy do I regret it now... I have watched that game a billion times since, but I regret not watching it live.. But again, that innings of Tendulkar probably would have given me heart attack so I am glad I didn't.. It was a match to remember... Thanks to Indian and Pakistani cricketers alike for a game that I absolutely love even when I didn't watch it..

  • crying_game on March 1, 2011, 15:49 GMT

    Fantastic article. Took us back in time and rooted us there for a while and made it feel like we re watched the whole thing sitting close to the Indian dressing room. Kudos Mr. Mathur. In the absence of 'behind the scenes' type documentaries like the NFL or NBA, this is the closes we can come to relive great sporting moments. Thanks! Me and a bunch of friends had gone to a hill station resort for a few days and planned our trip so we can watch the game from there. Turned out to be our best shared memory. We were rooted to our seats while sachin batted and made sure no one moved. When he was in 90s a friend felt so assured and went for a bathroom break!! he got the treatment he deserved- what great memories. One of the best days of my life, period.

  • crikkfan on March 1, 2011, 15:49 GMT

    This was a very exciting match but I disagree that this was the second most important after 83 finals. The 1996 QF against Pakistan was unarguably the more important match and it didnt lack theatrics either.

  • sskris1 on March 1, 2011, 15:48 GMT

    @Bone 101: Well said. I am an Indian and I totally agree with what you have said. India has to set their goals on winning the WC and not just beating Pakistan. The problem with us Indians is that we love to live in the past. mOVE ON iNDIA AND FOCUS ON HOW WE CAN THIS WC. W/O good fast bowlers there is no way of winning this tournament. To me SA, Australia, PAK, India, and England (not very good bowling in subcontinent) are the favorites in that order.

  • JerryJose on March 1, 2011, 15:48 GMT

    What an article!!!! Excellent narration of the mood

  • sskris1 on March 1, 2011, 15:44 GMT

    A very nice article. It's history and now it's time for the two teams to focus on the present WC. I sincerely hope these two team meet in the SF or Final. Also this suggests why India and Pakistan should be playing more often against each other. This is not only good for our relationship, but also for the world cricket. Politics aside, cricket is the only thing that will bring the two nations together. Why all the hatred, animosity? The common people from both the countries are ones to suffer, not the ministers, and not the politicians.

  • Sunny_kumar on March 1, 2011, 15:38 GMT

    I remember this game...Was so much pressure watchin this game as it was the first match between India and Paks after a long time...Evan the roads outside here in the UK was quiet as everyone was watchin the game...Was a good match as both teams played well but Sachin was in such good form in this world cup...The contest between sachin n shoaib was awesome...Good memories of India - Pak games...

  • on March 1, 2011, 15:33 GMT

    sachin,for all of his 21 years of cricket, hasnt played better than THIS. Wonderful memories!!!

  • Angad11 on March 1, 2011, 15:10 GMT

    Great article. Thanks a lot amit for sharing some inside stuff that we would never know. It was a great match. SACHIN IS THE BEST.

  • on March 1, 2011, 13:59 GMT

    I remember this game so well, and how when India won everyone celebrated like we won the world cup. The fact that India has never lost to Pakistan in a ODI world cup game still stands true, though I don't know if the rivalry is of the same intensity as it was 8 years ago

  • rtom on March 1, 2011, 13:31 GMT

    I still remember that back foot punch of Wasim Akram in almost first over of the innings which was out of this world !! everything was perfect in that shot and there on everything was scripted in history !!

  • on March 1, 2011, 13:30 GMT

    Not sure...If Pakistani team took that match as seriously as India did...I think you are forgetting a relatively simple chance missed by Abdul Razzaq to dismiss Sachin of the bowling of Wasim. Luck was with India, as Sachin and Sehwag top edged shots for sixes and fours over third man.

  • Bone101 on March 1, 2011, 13:29 GMT

    The only thing i remember from the 2003 World Cup is Australia winning the final..... there's no prize for second place in these tournaments.

  • banter123 on March 1, 2011, 13:26 GMT

    good article really enjoyes reading it. It was the Maha-shivratri day and the after match atmosphere was amazing

  • on March 1, 2011, 12:55 GMT

    Magnificent...too good an article. This is one match which I keep on watching again and again. The sight of watching sachin smash shoaib akhtar for a six, he driving wasim akram for four, still lie afresh in mind...beautiful articul...thumbs up !!!

  • on March 1, 2011, 12:40 GMT

    So just like indianss who cant forget tht inings from sachin ..im beinge a pakistani& cricket lover i cant forget tht saeed anware last century....always he had score against team india and always pakistan had won the match but tht time whn he got last century and his last apperiance in ODIs pakistan was lost the game .....true memoriable match for pakistanis aswellllll.

  • India_Cricket_Fan on March 1, 2011, 12:34 GMT

    One of the greatest victory for the Indians to remember & one of the masterpieces for Cricinfo fans to cherish in their memories.

  • on March 1, 2011, 12:21 GMT

    nice article.......it was a wonderful match n wonderful knock by sachin tendulkar....

  • on March 1, 2011, 11:46 GMT

    Awesome Narration of India Pakistan Match 2003 world cup match...

  • on March 1, 2011, 11:46 GMT

    its good match i watch with all emotion .i like the way writer write.most memorable its just like a diwali in that match when India win

  • Ozz777 on March 1, 2011, 11:28 GMT

    Fact: Wasim would have got Sachin out had A.Razzak not dropped a simple catch. Sure Sachin's innings was great but he needed luck to survive against the old masters.

    I wonder how so many people seem to be forgetting this

  • thestunner316_15 on March 1, 2011, 11:04 GMT

    awesome article. i still remember that day like it was yesterday... sachin's innings was probably his best one day innings (i still cant decide which one was better. this one or the desert storm). even i thought they got too many for a pressure match. but sachin tore the attack to shreds, it was just incredible. and the way we celebrated after the match by bursting crackers and distributing sweets... ah - those were the good ol days... thnx amrit

  • jazzy8192 on March 1, 2011, 11:00 GMT

    the most significant one day match in the cricket history between these two nations was austral-asia cup final 1986 in which miandad hit six off the last ball of the match to snatch the victory from the jaws of defeat.miandad innings was the best innings ever played in the history of pak-indo matches.The innings and the last ball six were straight out of the fiction book. sachin innings was good but minadad one was special

  • on March 1, 2011, 10:48 GMT

    That was the last full match for Wasim, Waqar and Saeed Anwar. Zimbabwe Match was a draw because of rain.

  • on March 1, 2011, 10:47 GMT

    Well written.. Cannot believe that this terrific match happened 8 years ago. One of the best 2nd innings knock from Sachin.. Memories are evergreen and the winning moments are to be cherished ever..

  • karthikfromchennai on March 1, 2011, 10:45 GMT

    I would have been very sad if Ind lost the match and won the worldcup...in all the worldcups 1991, 1996, 1999 and 2003 Ind beat Pak and thats more than enough for me...

  • on March 1, 2011, 10:36 GMT

    Still remember the day ... what an innings from the little master and a brief cameo from his prime chela / opening partner! But, as I always think, it could so easily have gone Pakistan's way. And if it had, I am trying to think what would have been the stand-out memory.

    For me, it has to be Waqar, particularly that one over where he got both Sehwag and Ganguly off consecutive balls. He placed Afridi at short cover, and invited Sehwag to drive uppishly - first ball, in the hitting arc and disappears for a 4. The next one.. just that bit shorter and the ball lands in Afridi's hands without him having to move an inch! If that was brilliant, what happened next ball was beyond that - Waqar places 3 slips for Ganguly, with everybody expecting him to slash at a high one outside off. Even Ganguly shapes for the cut ... and what does Waqar bowl? A full one swinging into dada's pads!! Plumb, plumber, plumbest! Whatta player!

    Not to forget Dravid and Yuvraj, who competed it without risk.

  • on March 1, 2011, 10:34 GMT

    Nice article but thats history now, I hope both the teams meet in the Final off this mega event so that one of them gets the trophy...........!!!

  • mvcric on March 1, 2011, 10:33 GMT

    KiwiRocker, not sure what grouse you have against Sachin. You said, 'Tendulkar did not score against Wasim And Waqar as this article seems to potray'. As a matter of fact, Sachin scored 27 off 13 deliveries against Waqar, 21 off 18 against Wasim and 22 off 12 against Shoaib. Put together, that's an impressive 70 runs in 43 deliveries (7.1 overs) at a rate of almost 10 an over. Against Waqar and Wasim, he scored 48 runs in 5.1 overs at over 9 runs per over.

    Check your facts here: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/65268.html?view=pvp

  • vmkrish2002 on March 1, 2011, 10:29 GMT

    Thrilling and wondefully written Mr. Amrit...very well written. I think a movie would have been a blockbuster if ever made for the same screenplay. Hats of to you...

  • on March 1, 2011, 10:03 GMT

    well written ... this was Sachin's most memorable innings played, without him getting a century ... just breath-taking stuff and well described here ...

  • on March 1, 2011, 9:57 GMT

    what a emotional feeling it was !! really waiting for 2011 WC IND vs pak !!! India will rock even this with 198 from Sachin !!!

  • shakkulala on March 1, 2011, 9:52 GMT

    Superb article, dont have words to describe, very hard to keep imotions in check, hope we have a similar match this world cup. Nothing is more satisfying than an Indian win against Pakistan.

  • on March 1, 2011, 9:51 GMT

    This is the best article, I have ever read on Cricinfo. Absolutely superb. It has given me goosebumps and took me back to March 1, 2003. This is the first time, I have read something very true about Sachin's emotions after the match. now I like and love him more

  • Tendulkar_rocks on March 1, 2011, 9:34 GMT

    Amazing Article... can still feel d goosebumps... one of d best innings under immeasurable pressure by Sachin!!! Best Article on dat match..

  • pash007 on March 1, 2011, 9:34 GMT

    One hell of an article. I really enjoyed reading this. Hats off to Team India and to Amrit Mathur.

  • ganeshraam on March 1, 2011, 9:30 GMT

    this is the most brilliant and heart warming article on cricinfo that I had read in recent months. each and every incident runs like a live video that happened just a couple of days ago! India rocks and so is the 2003 victory against Pakistan at Centurion!!!

    Hope to see one such innings from a genius called Sachin Tendulkar in 2011 WC :)

  • on March 1, 2011, 9:29 GMT

    awesome.. breathtaking.. as if i m re-witnessing the match 8 years on..

  • blue-eyed on March 1, 2011, 9:24 GMT

    Thanks a ton Amrit, for rekindling memories of THAT once-in-a-lifetime match. This is perhaps what they say is an insider's account: you gave us some never heard / read before insights into what transpired in the dressing room in the run-up to the match. Loved the lin - "Ordinary batsmen may play each ball on merit but Tendulkar plays according to his will."

  • on March 1, 2011, 9:20 GMT

    What a match it was...One of the best India - Pak match i've seen in my lifetime..the background (Inner) story of this match is incredibly explained..Great article..

  • Sreerang on March 1, 2011, 9:00 GMT

    The next day renowned journalist M J Akbar had written in the daily 'Asian Age' -- "the stands were alive with chants saying-We want Shoaib, We Want Shoaib-. These were not Pakistani fans, but Indian fans!" Another incidence was when Azhar dropped Sachin at midoff by coming in too much and Wasim chiding him. Taufiq Umar giving a send off to Sachin when he finally got out. And the tension rising again till the trusted Dravid with Yuvi guided us home. Not much credit is given to them, but they also played a big part. A great game of cricket with the icing of a real great innings by Sachin. Good job, Amrit. This gave us the inside view. Would have liked to know what Rajbhai had to say later on though. :D God bless his soul.

  • nvngupta on March 1, 2011, 8:58 GMT

    superb article, one of the best.

  • on March 1, 2011, 8:56 GMT

    superb article and best match it was.let guys like kiwirocker let his despair out..it doesnt matter...superb article once again!!!

  • on March 1, 2011, 8:54 GMT

    This is the most brilliant article ever read by me on cricinfo!!! And I am not exaggerating

  • Bilal_Choudry on March 1, 2011, 8:54 GMT

    the fact of the matter is that both waqar and wasim were at the end of there careers .. and tendulkar and co were at there peak .. .india avoided facing pakistan in the 90s which is no secret .. if india had played pak in the 90s the head to head would be worst for india

  • vhgupta on March 1, 2011, 8:30 GMT

    great writing for one of the greatest moment

  • on March 1, 2011, 8:30 GMT

    The best article ever!! I still remember that day when Sachin was belting sixes over third man!! He was all over Pakistan. One of the best knock of master blaster. Thank you Amrit for sharing such an awesome experience.

  • b.ag. on March 1, 2011, 8:28 GMT

    I am just thankful to God that Amrit was there to watch that innings from Sachin. Who else would have given us such a journey back to centurion.

  • CricketPissek on March 1, 2011, 8:24 GMT

    awesome article...great story telling and insight. i wonder how good SRT really is at table tennis :-D

  • on March 1, 2011, 8:18 GMT

    Great piece. This is lovely detail: "In the dressing room he slumps onto a stool next to the food counter. He is sweating profusely, drained physically and emotionally, staring blankly ahead, his eyes looking liquid. Nobody goes near him."

  • mkstraight on March 1, 2011, 8:06 GMT

    Amrit Mathur please please please tell us all about the final of the WC 2003 in Johannesburg. please take us to the glorious day when GREAT PONTING HITS 140. Please share your thoughts. we really want to relive that great match please.... as you were the manager at that time and from this GREAT article we can guess that you have great memory please please.

  • Q72941 on March 1, 2011, 8:04 GMT

    Simply the best Century that the little-one never had. I am pretty sure Tendz must had been charged-up by the build-ups made by the media posting about Shoaib's pre-torney comments. But correction has to be made for the record, Tendz was not as severe against the 2 Ws as he was against the kiddish Shoaib. All in all it was what an actual final should have been.

  • mkstraight on March 1, 2011, 7:56 GMT

    india vs pakistan. love every moment. ahhh battle not only in centurion but every game these two great nation played against each other. i love every single moment. there is a big list of battles between them. this article reminds me lots of matches between india-pakistan. ahhh memories....memories...... ahhhh memories. india tour to pak in 1988-89 (sachin debut- waqar breaking his nose and schin resistance). pakistan tour to india 1999 pakistan wining (saqlain amazing performance) . india tour to pakistan india wining (shewagh rise)2004. pakistan tour to india kamran and razzaq heroics to level the series 2004-5 then pakistan wining one day series. india to pakistan 2005-6 pakistan wining the test match unforgettable kamran akmal century in karachi and rise of m.Asif and Dhoni. pakistan loosing in india 1-0, memorable resistance of misbah. i, not only love centurion battle but all the battles between these two nations.

  • Arrik1433 on March 1, 2011, 7:53 GMT

    Well i cant say much, This article makes me time travel

  • Ray24 on March 1, 2011, 7:51 GMT

    This match meant a lot more to Indian than it did for Pakistan. Pakistan were plagued by infighting (rarely they aren't), but this was real bad. Waseem and Waqar had differences over captaincy and there were groups in the team. The team was old, W's were not even close to their best, well past their prime. Even then, Wasim produced one that had Tendulkar almost squared and the leading edge dolly was floored by Abdur Razzak. From then on ST didn't look back, but if that ahd been taken, the match would've been different. But yes, I guess since this match India has held the edge. I can think of many other games that were much more thrilling than this one. India defending 125 in Sharjah and winning. India almost winning defending ~145 in Sharjah. Miandad's last ball sixer. Salim Malik's 32 ball 72 in Calcutta - scoring 66 off the last 6 overs was fantastic. Indian edging Pak in Khi when both almost scored 350. Pak beating India 6-1 in India in 87. The one was bcoz Ind lost less wkts.

  • Arrik1433 on March 1, 2011, 7:50 GMT

    Well i cant say much, This article makes me time travel

  • amitsetiya20 on March 1, 2011, 7:42 GMT

    Thank you very much Amrit for making us revisit the match of the century...I got to remember the whole as if it was just happening in front of my eyes...It was really a very very special knock by Sachin...I still get goosebumps when I think how Sachin over powered one of the best bowling unit....Riveting...Powerful..mesmerising....THANK YOU VERY MUCH....!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Kumar_cricket on March 1, 2011, 7:39 GMT

    Sachin Tendulkar will score more Hundread centuries but this is the best innigs of Sachin i saw so far. Wow ! Great Innings from the Master.

  • Varsan on March 1, 2011, 7:33 GMT

    Easily the best article that i have read on cricinfo... Amaaazing writing. I guess everyone remembers distinctly what everyone was doing that day.. I had my board exams the next day but no one dared to move me off the couch that day...

  • swamitata on March 1, 2011, 7:31 GMT

    great article.......one of the most revered nostalgic moments of my life.

  • on March 1, 2011, 7:27 GMT

    I watched this match a day before my Class XII board exams and contributed a lot towards noise pollution! That night was like 'Diwali'. Fire crackers were going off everywhere. There were people on roads with Indian flags. One hell of a day it was!!

  • m23ahmed on March 1, 2011, 7:23 GMT

    A match to forget for a Pakistani fan and an end of an era of the last remaining Pakistani players that dominated the 90s such as Saeed Anwar, 2 Ws, Saqlain Mushtaq and Rashid Latif. Great innings from the little master, however the game would have been different had Razzak not dropped him when he was on 32 off Wasim! Great article Mr. Mathur, but not a great memory.

  • SACH9999 on March 1, 2011, 7:19 GMT

    Really a nice and Gripping article. Still in fresh memories of that match. A Truly Inspirational match

  • farhankhan82 on March 1, 2011, 7:18 GMT

    No Ardent Indian Cricket fan will ever forget this match and as rightly said by "Sriram Padmanabhan" in above comment, this by far is the time india defeated a Full strength Pakistan team that too on all counts, be it batting, bowling or fielding, but what i dont agree with Sriram is IND has upperhand over PAK after this match, dont forget after that 1986 last ball Sixer from Javed Miandad, it took 10 long years for India to over come the Pak-Phobia in true sense and that was done on 9th March 1996 (World Cup 1996 Quarter Finals at Banglore),but it still lacked the real flavour as their main player Wasim Akram was not playing in that match, hence 2003 clash was much superior to 1996 in terms of a Full strength sides for both teams!! Hope India goes on to win 2011 world cup, All the best !

  • prasanth.kongati on March 1, 2011, 7:12 GMT

    If you want to read and understand the encyclopedia of sachin tendulkar..just watch this two hours of blistering knock...it is as complete as the man himself..no words to describe the innings and joy it brought to billion people who love and admire cricket all over the world....kudos.. sachin and india team....

    It is for this paricular match...people talk sachin above cricket....

  • BryanJ on March 1, 2011, 7:08 GMT

    Stunning account with great behind the scenes info.

    I WAS THERE, and it was one of the greatest games I have witnessed (I am a SAfrican). The atmosphere in the ground was electric from when we arrived, even walking down to the stadium there was plenty of chatter and a real buzz.

    I even heard some Indian fans shouting "ooh, ah Ashish Nehra" imitating the Aussies "ooh, ah Glen McGrath", didn't rhyme but they didn't care.

    It felt very special the whole day and when Sachin launched into Shoaib the place went berserk and never let up until the end.

    What a fantastic day! Remember it like yesterday.

  • on March 1, 2011, 7:07 GMT

    grt grt article....i was shivering while reading it...thnks amit fr the wonderful article...this shows..IND-PAK matches not played only 22 yards, whole country plays with 11 players...

  • Jawwadsyed81 on March 1, 2011, 7:02 GMT

    very well written about a very well fought win by Indians!

    I hope and pray that we (Pakistan) write it back this time around.

    Best wishes to all!

  • gautam1s on March 1, 2011, 6:58 GMT

    Great Arcticle :) this article left me speecless mindblowing

  • on March 1, 2011, 6:53 GMT

    seems like reliving those moments...kudos..its a gr8 gr8 article ...with detailed precision to all imp events of the wonderful match..

  • ARAgarwal on March 1, 2011, 6:52 GMT

    "After lunch comes dessert" what lines man.... had me smiling for the next hour...

  • The_Dynamite_Kid on March 1, 2011, 6:44 GMT

    Shoaib Akhtar was 27 years old at that time. Loved how Tendulkar made a roast out of him and brought him into reality. Both Waqar and Wasim got royal treatment as well. Tendulkar spanked the daylights out of both and told them who the real man is. And as expected, Pakistan lost to India in World Cups for the 4th time in a row.

  • on March 1, 2011, 6:41 GMT

    one of the best articles I've read in recent times, great narration!

    It is indeed a day India will never forget.

  • on March 1, 2011, 6:39 GMT

    What an article amrit !!!. No matter how much v control our emotions that match shook d nation like storm. I still remeber it was my bds final exam & after pak made 270odd, me & my friends felt it was a tricky task & I said to my friends[who always bully me for being a stupid die-hard sachin fan] that today sachin will do something special & as usual they laughed & adviced to focus on exam as d match already seemed to be lost. I said I'll watch first 5 overs & join them in d library. And when sachin started bludegeoning pak bowlers it was they who ended up joining me. After d match I felt so happy & jubiliant with tears in my eyes as if I had batted. May sound silly, I ended doing night out study & did well in my exam.

  • on March 1, 2011, 6:37 GMT

    O man you made me cry, great words and fantastic writing ... I remember every ball of this EPIC.

  • RonakHats on March 1, 2011, 6:27 GMT

    That was an amazing article.This article took me back to the moments of euphoria surrounding each ball bowled that day. Sachin was in sublime form & it was a treat

  • on March 1, 2011, 6:17 GMT

    gr8 article Amrit, it was really thrilling.....

  • bks123 on March 1, 2011, 6:12 GMT

    @kiwiRocker..Don't worry...PAK will get that thrashing again once they come face to face this time around..Till then enjoy matches with others...Wasim, waqar took retirement after 2003 WC...this time akhtar, afridi and yunus will take...

  • Ash4977 on March 1, 2011, 6:11 GMT

    Thank you Mr. Mathur for such an outstanding article. Yes while reading it does feel as if you are timejacked to 2003 and those images begin moving in front of your eyes. It was indeed a great match to witness. and to repeat Ravi Shastri's words - indeed "Mother" of all ODI contests. Having said that i'd like to remind Mr.Kiwi Rocker that unfortunately there is none such great match played by the kiwis in the entire history of ODI and hence no one from your country can stand up and give such an outstanding account of an EPIC match. I pray to GOD that your cricketers give such a performance atleast in your life time so that you have something to boast about. Cheers.....

  • Sach_is_Life on March 1, 2011, 6:04 GMT

    WoW .. Tooo Gud !!

  • on March 1, 2011, 6:02 GMT

    @analyseabhishek couldn't agree more...i got goosebumps reading this...what a phenomenal match that was and this piece is up there too

  • on March 1, 2011, 6:02 GMT

    goosebumps! wat a match that was!

  • on March 1, 2011, 5:40 GMT

    what an article !the last paragraph is just amazing . kudos india

  • analyseabhishek on March 1, 2011, 5:31 GMT

    Phenomenal! Amrit Mathur makes it sound like if it happened only last night!

  • on March 1, 2011, 5:31 GMT

    I have always dreamt of India defeat a full strength Pakistan team while chasing over 250 outside the subcontinent. This is the only one if my memory is right..I would rate this as the best innings from Sachin Tendulkar...This match is a land mark game... Till this game Pakistan always had a upper hand against India, after this match India always had a upper hand against Pakistan...

  • BMayuresh on March 1, 2011, 5:26 GMT

    Great article, really it was one of the greatest encounters and one great piece of writing.

  • papi11on on March 1, 2011, 5:24 GMT

    This is one of the best cricinfo articles I've read. Fantastic stuff.

  • Hitarth1987 on March 1, 2011, 5:20 GMT

    I can still remember the anxiety and exhilleration when Sachin was teeing off against Akram, Akhtar and Waqar. I still remember almost everything from Indian innings. This game is one of India's greatest one-day performances, along with the Natwest series win in England.

  • CLR_James on March 1, 2011, 5:16 GMT

    Thank you for this precious memory! What a great moment that was. I remember being stunned into silence by the manner in which Sachin launched into Akram and Waqar- I never respected Shoaib as much. This was more out of happy disbelief than anything else. But yes, that innings left everyone emotionally drained I suppose - us Indian fans, Pakistani fans, both the teams, and of course Sachin himself.

  • vish2020 on March 1, 2011, 5:14 GMT

    Great article Amrit!! I and all of my friends remember this game as it happened yesterday..Sachin played a superb knock and will always be remembered as a sachin who won that game for us! It was really good to read an article written by a guy who saw it all from the best seat in the house

  • Krooks on March 1, 2011, 4:57 GMT

    The most riveting hair raising account of THAT match on which the new generation of Indians has grown up, The generation which did not see the 83 Win.

    I had goosebumps and my pulse was racing when I was reading this account.

    Simply Amazing... Stuff

    Hats Off.

  • agonwar on March 1, 2011, 4:52 GMT

    real nice article...nice insight to the dressing room emotions as well!!!

  • roshan810 on March 1, 2011, 4:47 GMT

    Such innings of tendulkar defines him...sometime people says he has given more credit than he deserves, but stood up at such time and always carring hope of a nation makes him special...sometimes "god" for billion indian people....he gives hope and joy to every indian ...

  • dreamz2win on March 1, 2011, 4:46 GMT

    Wonderful !!!!!! Awsome piece of work which tells the untold story of what happens around an important match.

  • KiwiRocker- on March 1, 2011, 4:37 GMT

    This has got to one of most boring pieces of writing written at CricInfo. What is purpose of all this praise? Surely, India won it on the day but they also ended up losing world cup..Just like Pakistan. It is also important to not disrespect legends of cricket. Tendulkar did not score against Wasim And Waqar as this article seems to potray. Wasim actually had a catch dropped when Tendulkar was preicely at 32 and fielder was Razzaq. Tendulkar in his test career averaged 32 against Wasim And Waqar. His test average is still one of the lowest against Pakistan. Scoring a good inning againt two legendary fast bowlers at twilight of their career is not such a big thing as author seems to potray. Ironically, India seems to be in same place where Pakistan was in 2003. New Pakistan team is united and Vibrant while Indian tired old dust track bully legends are a libaility in the fielder. Lets live in the present and wait for future instead of writing biased onsided articles.!

  • Nadeem1976 on March 1, 2011, 4:35 GMT

    Cricket is boaring with out ind vs pak matches. Its worthless to see any other ODI than these two rivals. Last time my heart beat was at extreme hight when pak played in india against india.

    No fun without these matches, cricket looks boaring. I would love to watch one match a year between pak vs ind rather than watching 10 WC finals. For me the real taste is to play against india , win or lose no care but my heart beat goes up and up with each ball. Oh...again cricket is extremely boaring without Ind vs Pak..........its all worthless.

  • on March 1, 2011, 4:35 GMT

    brought tears to my eyes... Relived that tension and joy...Thanks... Cricinfo Thanks Amrit Mathur

  • Wan2Cricket on March 1, 2011, 4:34 GMT

    The most anticipated ODI ever...remember how Ravi Shastri started off the proceedings on that day ..."Mother of all contests", he said. One of the Priests in the Tirupati temple told on March 1st, 2003 the number of devotees was relatively lesser and that the worshippers were able to spend almost 10 times the duration of time in front of the deity when compared to a regular day. The whole of India was watching this contest.

  • on March 1, 2011, 4:31 GMT

    Well said: I can not forget this match........... great inning from great batsman and even add up to that well under the immense pressure to perform against their arch rival pakistan

  • on March 1, 2011, 4:31 GMT

    Well said: I can not forget this match........... great inning from great batsman and even add up to that well under the immense pressure to perform against their arch rival pakistan

  • on March 1, 2011, 4:23 GMT

    One of the best articles I've ever read on that EPIC match! Keep up the quality work :)

  • on March 1, 2011, 4:20 GMT

    Every Indian rejoices victory against Pakistan..... but this was special from sachin....he is gods gift to Indian cricket

  • The_Dynamite_Kid on March 1, 2011, 4:20 GMT

    Loved how Tendulkar brought the entire Pak bowling attack to it's knees that day.

  • seaboy on March 1, 2011, 4:19 GMT

    Great article. Very good to read the inside story of how the players and officials actually felt during such a high profile match.

  • on March 1, 2011, 4:18 GMT

    It's very dissapointing whenever India batting first and Sachin scores 100 it's about India is going to lose the game.

  • knpradeep77 on March 1, 2011, 4:15 GMT

    great article about a great win. not only sachin, but the whole team palyed well. but sachin was special. hope india wil win this world cup

  • Rahul_78 on March 1, 2011, 4:01 GMT

    There are more then 1 billion stories attached to this match from over a billion indian fans. Thanks a bunch to mr.amrit and cricinfo for refreshing the wonderful memories. Lets keep our fingers crossed and wait in anticipation for another indo pak thriller in this world cup too.

  • JustAGame on March 1, 2011, 3:46 GMT

    maza aa gaya !!

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • JustAGame on March 1, 2011, 3:46 GMT

    maza aa gaya !!

  • Rahul_78 on March 1, 2011, 4:01 GMT

    There are more then 1 billion stories attached to this match from over a billion indian fans. Thanks a bunch to mr.amrit and cricinfo for refreshing the wonderful memories. Lets keep our fingers crossed and wait in anticipation for another indo pak thriller in this world cup too.

  • knpradeep77 on March 1, 2011, 4:15 GMT

    great article about a great win. not only sachin, but the whole team palyed well. but sachin was special. hope india wil win this world cup

  • on March 1, 2011, 4:18 GMT

    It's very dissapointing whenever India batting first and Sachin scores 100 it's about India is going to lose the game.

  • seaboy on March 1, 2011, 4:19 GMT

    Great article. Very good to read the inside story of how the players and officials actually felt during such a high profile match.

  • The_Dynamite_Kid on March 1, 2011, 4:20 GMT

    Loved how Tendulkar brought the entire Pak bowling attack to it's knees that day.

  • on March 1, 2011, 4:20 GMT

    Every Indian rejoices victory against Pakistan..... but this was special from sachin....he is gods gift to Indian cricket

  • on March 1, 2011, 4:23 GMT

    One of the best articles I've ever read on that EPIC match! Keep up the quality work :)

  • on March 1, 2011, 4:31 GMT

    Well said: I can not forget this match........... great inning from great batsman and even add up to that well under the immense pressure to perform against their arch rival pakistan

  • on March 1, 2011, 4:31 GMT

    Well said: I can not forget this match........... great inning from great batsman and even add up to that well under the immense pressure to perform against their arch rival pakistan