Sachin Tendulkar's 50th Test century December 19, 2010

Tendulkar focussed amid the frenzy

There were whites, there were blacks, there were browns at the grass banks of SuperSport Park, and all they wanted was for Sachin Tendulkar's 50th Test hundred to come in front of them

He was in a foreign land. At least a land that has stayed the most foreign to India even after their resurgence away from home. They started chanting "Sachin, Sachin" from the time he guided one past short third man to move to 88. There were whites, there were blacks, there were browns at the grass banks of SuperSport Park, and all they wanted was for Sachin Tendulkar's 50th Test hundred to come in front of them.

It was difficult to not let that affect you, but Tendulkar was in a different sphere. He was trying to save a game, trying to kill time, trying to run through the deficit. He took his time to get to 89, and South Africa tried to cut out boundary-scoring areas. A forward short leg came in, Morne Morkel bowled bouncers - around the helmet area, and into the ribs. Tendulkar kept ducking, the lower ones he kept keeping out; if he was nervous, he wasn't showing it. Against Paul Harris, who has somehow managed to be India's nemesis, he hit a straight six to send the crowd into frenzy again.

The chants started again. When at 97, he faced another flurry of bouncers. One of them went for five wides. Ten deliveries he spent on 97. Then came Dale Steyn. He got an inside-edge past midwicket to move to 99. Then he squirted one between cover and extra cover, celebrating as he ran the 100th run. Not extravagantly. The helmet came off, the back arched a bit, and he looked up to the skies.

Tendulkar later spoke of the moment when he reached the milestone. "The first thing obviously I thought of was my father because I wanted to do it for him," he said. "Yesterday was his birthday, and I would like to dedicate this to him."

Tendulkar didn't know what to make of the landmark. Perhaps the match situation - India are on the verge of a defeat despite his and MS Dhoni's effort - had something to do with it. Perhaps it is taking time to sink in. "I don't know. I am okay. It's just another number for me. It's nice. Obviously I can't say I am not happy, I am happy. But I don't know how to express this. It's good that it has come. Hopefully it doesn't stop, it continues."

Tendulkar remembered his first Test that was played against an attack that comprised three greats. He was quick to remind the reporters of Abdul Qadir's presence too, to go with Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Imran Khan. "It was challenging," he said. "I thoroughly enjoyed it. I learned a lot on that tour and whenever I have played them. It's been a fantastic contest."

Tendulkar has had a bumper 2010, this being his seventh Test century to go with the only double-century in the history of ODIs. Of his remarkable form, he said: "Just been batting and enjoying. Sometime you are striking the ball really well and that is when you need to cash in as much as possible. I only try to do that. I felt that the last couple of years I have been moving well. Also the frame of mind. It's a habit, and once you build that habit, it's a good habit to carry on tours and back home in India as well."

Tendulkar also reiterated that records have just happened to come his way while he has been doing what he loves the most. "I am playing for the love of it," he said. "If I was chasing records, I wouldn't have missed those one-day matches in between. I have had to pace myself. I thought I was not in top physical condition, and I needed some break and requested the board for the rest so I stay fresh. If I were chasing records, I wouldn't have done that. Its about producing quality cricket, and that's what I want to do."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ravi on December 26, 2010, 17:10 GMT

    @ 007 : As someone so well put it down somewhere in the same thread, if Sachin, or for that matter anyone, thinks that farming strike for a day is feasible then their IQ is lower than that of a club cricketer (I'd say worse but we'll settle for that). So 'trying' to do whatever you want him to do would've been pretty lame. It was better they get used to playing the ball early in the morning when the sun's up than later when the pitch is getting worse. With the likes of Morkel and Steyn bowling it was a matter of when, not if. And also just for the record, I'm summarizing your opinion. You are blaming Sachin (who top scored in both innings of the team) for the loss instead of Dravid, Laxman, Sehwag, Gambhir and Raina who couldn't do scrap. If thats what you've really been trying to communicate so far than sadly, the joke's on you man.

  • JIGNESH on December 26, 2010, 0:13 GMT

    @ The_Professor, you said India was down by 8 wickets so there was no hope, but how would you know there was no hope? Does anyone know In 2002, India would make over 600 runs in 2nd innings after getting follow-on in first innings against Australia in Kolkata, and also would win the match? When Harbhajan made 2nd centuries, against NZ India were on 367/9, and the last wicket made 104 runs. In here India were down by only 8 wickets, and SACHIN TENDULKAR, the best batsman of the world in all formats of cricket, on the strike instead on Bhajji, the non-specialize batsman. May be Sachin and last 2 men would have made 200-300 runs, who knows. I am just trying to say that you have to try otherwise you wouldn't know what you are. If you had not tried to walk or run or write when you were infant, you wouldn't even think about to keep the nick-name you are keeping these days as "The_Professor. And just keeping the nick-name - "The_Professor" is not the way to figure it out either.

  • johnny on December 25, 2010, 14:36 GMT

    ravi_musti, u've hit the nail on the head. Unfortunately, there will always be critics for various reasons - either people who are suspicious or ppl who will question motives as opposed to looking at facts or ppl who are jealous or ppl simply looking for attention with ridiculous and outrageous comments! To the people who have criticised SRT's 5th day motives, pls cast ur minds back to the end of 4th days play. For the short period that play went on after Bhajji's dismissal, SRT did farm strike (pls note: SRT had already reached his century at this point). It was only on the 5th day that tactics changed - anyone sensible will read btwn lines that it was team tactics, whether correct or not. Once again this confirms the points on my earlier post (December 23 2010, 15:53 PM GMT). Guys, lets stop arguing over SRT's motives - he has done a lot for Team India and broken many records along the way. Let's wish he gets another century and this time our bowlers knock SA over. GO TEAM INDIA.

  • Ravi on December 25, 2010, 6:56 GMT

    To play so much cricket and still hold out. What do you think that takes? All this discussions going on and on about his stature as a batsman don't even consider his ODI batting. He is the undisputed king of ODIs and a very near second in tests to the Don, makes him the greatest batsman to grace the planet. And to think that there are people, in his country, who don't recognize his worth. Funny how we don't realize a person's worth until he's gone. The Aussies, the S Africans and the English who don't have this god playing for them know what his worth is. We will only know after he retires. Sad.

  • Ravi on December 25, 2010, 6:53 GMT

    @ Girish Kulkarni : And I also notice that no one stays sufficiently in form to play 175 test matches. There is a reason that all the cricket gurus out there are praising the man. Its no mean task playing 20 years of cricket and still going strong. I mean he got his best test cricket year at the age of 37. Show me one other individual who has scored so many runs, so many centuries at that age. And no, even if they end up playing as many matches, I can give in writing that they wouldn't get to 50 centuries because playing at the same level for so many years isn't a piece of cake. You think the likes of Lara, Gavaskar, Waugh and Border don't covet these records? Any human will love to be the most talked about sportsperson of their era. They retired because they couldn't give it their hundred per cent any longer. They just *had* to call it a day. Their body couldn't hould out any longer. This of course is only test cricket. He also played 442 ODI's, so imagine the strain on the body. Cont

  • Ravi on December 25, 2010, 6:45 GMT

    @ Pakspin : He plays for his records? He's selfish? Are you from Mars? He chokes in ICC events? I don't even know why I'm honouring this comment with a reply but here I'm. Please, pretty please, don't talk about stuff you know scrap about. Sachin's ODI average in 3-4 team tournament series = 49.04 with 27 centuries. In 5+ team tournament series = 48.48 with 5 centuries in 67 innings. ICC events tend to be one of these two types FYI. World Cup : Avg = 57.93, SR = 88.21, 4 centuries, 13 50's in 35 innings. Asia Cup : Avg = 49.93, SR = 86.65, 1 century, 6 50's in 18 innings. And you call him a choker? You shouldn't comment here. Sachin gets records so he is a "selfish record chaser"?What would you rather him do? Get out so that he doesn't get these records and hence not be blamed as you have very conveniently done? And Sehwag makes Tendu look pedestrian? Comparing Imran with Sachin? Why is the administrator letting these kinds of comments flow, its a disgrace to both Cricinfo and cricket.

  • johnny on December 24, 2010, 12:39 GMT

    @JigneshPatel_007 on (December 24) - I don't want to get into an arguement with you, brother BUT pls re-visit my earlier post (on December 23 2010, 15:53 PM GMT) as it gives you more than one possible answer to your question, "Why not Sachin...". Notwithstanding all of Sachin's efforts, the match was a lost cause on the final day. Only way out (rain apart) would have been for the remaining tailenders to contribute 50 or 60 runs and even then it was doubtful. I'm sure the tailenders were well briefed of their role before coming onto the pitch - that is why they have team meetings, don't they? Sachin can only advise tailenders if he spots a technical flaw or if they are drifting away from team plans. However, in this instance the tailenders were out before anyone could even blink!! I would be first to accept if Sachin was at fault BUT I'm sorry Mr Patel, Sachin can't be balmed for lack of trying, in this instance - it does not take a 007 to figure that one out!

  • JIGNESH on December 24, 2010, 9:08 GMT

    @ The_Professor, have you watch the match when harbhajan made 2 centuries in 2 tests, especially, the second one? Harbhajan constantly instructed inspired Sreesanth at almost every ball. And when he was getting the strike, always go for the biggie. Harbhajan is not a specialize batsman, moreover; he carries the batting average below 18, and has a less experience. If he could do it, they why not Sachin-the Greatest Batsman in the world who carries almost all batting records in ODIS and Tests, who has exceptional batting averages in both formats-ODIs and Tests????If Harbhajan had done this once we could say he just was lucky, but he had done it twice. And I am sure Sachin would have done it if he had tried. Or may be he wouldn't have done, but at-least try it. Let his fans know he tried his best. We should say like this to Harbhajan but we have to say to the best batsman in the world. That record is also carrying by Sachin.

  • bala on December 24, 2010, 6:45 GMT

    HI all Sachin Fans,

    we all know india is going to lose , but would have avoided innings defect if sachin batted sensibly on 5th morning . A soilder in battle field will fight till he dies even if he knows his country is losing , if the soilder surrenders himself then he is coward. True soilder is you give fight till end .

    my question is " would sachin give strike to sreesanth or any other tail ender after taking single on first ball of over if he was in 90's on 5th day morning ?"

    some one was mentioning that it might have decided in team meeting to give strike to tailender ,to get a look of pitch .then india does not deserve to top the ICC test rating chart any more .

  • Dummy4 on December 24, 2010, 6:30 GMT

    Why all people blaming sachin.. Have a look at the 2 innings and think y sehwag got out bcoz of silly shot. Y?? He knws wat the status of the game is. Team india was needed him but still he continuous with his irresponsible batting.Cant have some patience..Think abt this.. The greater cricketer is one who adapts and changes his game whn team needed.Dont blame any one. Bcoz this is our TEAM INDIA. Everyone is playing for our GR8 INDIA...

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