New Zealand v India, 1st Test, Hamilton, 3rd day

Tendulkar finds his off-side groove

Stats highlights of the third day of the first Test between New Zealand and India in Hamilton

S Rajesh

March 20, 2009

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Sachin Tendulkar scored 100 of his 160 runs on the off side © Cricinfo Ltd

For all those who were doubting Sachin Tendulkar's run-making ability, he has hit back in glorious style during the 2008-09 season. In seven Tests this season, he averages 64.72, and his three centuries during this period have come within the span of seven innings. With 42 Test hundreds, he is now five clear of the second-placed Ricky Ponting. (Click here for the list of highest centurions.)

One of the features of his 160 on the third day in Hamilton was the manner in which he repeatedly peppered the off-side cordon : he scored 75 of his runs in the arc between backward point and extra cover, which is an excellent indication of his form. When he is unsure of his strokeplay, he often reins in those cover-drives, and instead prefers to gather his runs on the leg side. Here, though, 100 of his 160 runs, and 18 out of 26 fours, were scored through the off.

The way he changed gears was stunning too. When he first came in to bat, Tendulkar was circumspect: after 40 deliveries he had only scored 14, with a solitary four. His first 50 runs required 118 deliveries, but thereafter he turned it on in style, requiring only 50 more deliveries to get his hundred. Though his rate dropped after he reached his century, he still scored at around four runs per over.

Among the bowlers who bowled to Tendulkar, the only one who kept him in check was Daniel Vettori: in 66 balls, Tendulkar scored only 22 off him. Even after settling in and reaching his half-century, Tendulkar wasn't able to dominate Vettori: in 44 deliveries he faced from Vettori after getting his 50, Tendulkar scored 12. In 73 balls from Chris Martin and Iain O'Brien during this period, he scored 66.

Tendulkar's progress to 160
  First 50 Next 50 Last 60
Balls faced 118 50 92

Tendulkar against each bowler
Bowler Runs Balls Strike rate
Chris Martin 40 58 68.96
Kyle Mills 17 15 113.33
Iain O'Brien 34 49 69.38
James Franklin 29 43 67.44
Daniel Vettori 22 66 33.33
Jesse Ryder 18 29 62.06

Tendulkar was also involved in a 115-run stand with MS Dhoni, the 71st century partnership he has been involved in. Only Ponting (72) and Rahul Dravid (74) have been a part of more century stands.

Thanks largely to Tendulkar's 160, India managed their first 500-plus score in New Zealand. It's also India's highest first-innings lead in New Zealand, and significantly higher than the 148-run advantage they had in Auckland in 1976.

S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo

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S Rajesh Stats editor Every week the Numbers Game takes a look at the story behind the stats, with an original slant on facts and figures. The column is edited by S Rajesh, ESPNcricinfo's stats editor in Bangalore. He did an MBA in marketing, and then worked for a year in advertising, before deciding to chuck it in favour of a job which would combine the pleasures of watching cricket and writing about it. The intense office cricket matches were an added bonus.
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