Sri Lanka v India, 2nd Test, SSC, 4th day July 29, 2010

Tendulkar braves demanding conditions and delivers


Sachin Tendulkar had just reached his double-century. He was into the ninth hour of his innings. He had been on the field for the whole match, except for perhaps one session. He had had a few visits from the physio. The tea break was approaching. Twice in the next two overs, MS Dhoni hit shots slightly wide of the outfielders. And Tendulkar hared across for the twos, running as though they were his 199th and 200th runs. That was perhaps the most impressive aspect of the 95 runs Tendulkar added today to his overnight 108. If a run was there to be scored, he was there to score it.

After Tendulkar had helped India to relative safety on day three, today ceased being a battle between bat and ball. There was hardly anything to trouble Tendulkar. It had come down to endurance, and the need to bat as long as possible to try and prevent his bowlers from having to bowl in the humidity.

Tendulkar spoke about the physical challenge of batting for 516 minutes after having fielded for more than five sessions. "It's been challenging," he said. "Of course the conditions are tough. Yesterday when I got into the dressing room, I had a long ice bath. I was in the ice tub for a while. Then I did some stretches, had an early dinner, and I was in bed by 8.30.

"I just relaxed as much as possible. Because I went off to sleep early, I was up early morning, sort of relaxed a bit and stretched a bit in the morning. When you are off the field time flies in between. When you are off the field, go back to the hotel and sleep, when you wake in the morning, it's time to go back to the ground again. But that's what Test cricket is all about. For almost all four days, I have been on the field. It's been demanding on the body, but it's held up pretty well."

Another moment that stood out in what was largely an error-free effort was when Suresh Raina brought up his debut hundred. There was as much joy on Tendulkar's face as on Raina's. Like Virender Sehwag said, it was difficult to tell who the debutant was. They then spoke for what seemed a longish period between deliveries.

"I was very happy for him," Tendulkar said of the moments after Raina got his century and before the next ball. "Many guys doubted whether Suresh was a good Test player or not. He has done well, I am very pleased. The way he batted was fantastic. All I told him was, 'Enjoy this moment. You have earned something special. This will always be the highlight of your career. You will have many more hundreds, you will achieve many more things in your life, but this will always be something special.'"

Admittedly this was a flat track - Tendulkar didn't try to suggest otherwise. But he also knew that - until the follow-on was avoided -India were one mistake away from getting into big trouble. He had to curb the temptation of looking for runs, especially because the track and the bowling were ripe with runs.

"It was tough. There were times when you felt you could go over the fielders," Tendulkar said. "But also the Test match was poised critically. It was an important phase, and one mistake would have cost us quite a bit. So I felt it was important to just try and control all those temptations, and play a percentage game."

Those joyful shots came at intervals. His scoring-rate never fell though he eliminated risks. With not much life left in the match, everybody's thoughts turned to the elusive triple-century. This was a good chance: there was enough time left, all he needed was for MS Dhoni to stay with him.

The error from Tendulkar arrived, though. Just after tea, the first ball of Tillakaratne Dislhan's spell turned a bit extra and Prasanna Jayawardene pouched a bat-pad offering. Tendulkar later said that the triple-century was not on his mind.

"I have always gone out and played," he said. "People look at records, not me. I would want to score as many runs as possible. Whenever it comes, it comes. It is never too late. I will keep trying, but that is not the end of the world to me. There are many more things to cricket, and that is where the focus is. It's not on records. If it has to come, it will come."

Whatever milestones he passed during the course of the innings - be it the most 150-plus scores, be it drawing level with Steve Waugh's 168 Test caps, or be it yet another double-century - saving the Test was his top priority. To keep the series alive. And he was a satisfied man at the end of it all. And when he is satisfied, so is the rest of India.

Sidharth Monga is a staff writer at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on July 31, 2010, 4:52 GMT

    Interesting that now suddenly - the ICC rankings exclude SL from becoming #1. 5 days ago the ICC predictor for rankings showed a 2-0 win would give SL #1. Amazingly sometimes its based on 3 yrs sometimes 4, India will now go up the table in points. Hmm seems a bit 4 legs are better than 2, or was that now 2 legs are better than 4. Orwell could see the future!!!!!!!!!!

  • Vinaykumar on July 31, 2010, 0:53 GMT

    Why nothing to prove? He should have few major achievements in critical conditions, likeo other great players have. He must have record breaking scores,which wil be broken at least next generation, within a match like other great batsman is have. He should have best personal bests tough opponents and lead to match win. He is a very good batsman having scored 30+ thousands international runs and over 90 international centuries. They are based on bulky and high volume, especially more on subcontinent, he is previleged to play 102 tests on subcontinent, no other player have,all the records accumulated in nature, not within the match. He should have them. If you have lots of money you will become "rich" man, not "great" man. Of course people money/media can make them "Great".

  • rajendra on July 30, 2010, 13:55 GMT

    @john boyd ,bradman had played 52 tests in20 years on an avg of close to 3 tests in a year whereas SRT had played 168 tests along with 400+ odi's on an avg of 8 tests and 20 odis per year.Ihope its very clear to you.

  • Partha on July 30, 2010, 10:47 GMT

    With the passage of time, Tendulkar has started playing like another great palyer of India, Sunil Gavaskar. Keep on playing Sachin, for the sake of our country.

  • Prasun on July 30, 2010, 9:11 GMT

    About SACHIN nothing can be said. Everyone knows him, loves him, adores him, admires him. This double century is another feather to his hat. Its immaterial which format of game he is playing. But he still has the capacity to initiate a discussion about his score may it be in office, bar, or wherever. He still has the ability to reduce the mobile balances when he scores 200* in ODI. He has the ability to make people stick to the TV even if they have exam next day (his 98 vs PAK in WC 2003). He still has the capacity to make Indian cricket fans smile even if INDIA loses a game (175 against AUS in HYD or 143 vs AUS in SHARJAH). I exactly dont remember which cricketer said this about SACHIN. But what he said matters. what he said is somewhat like this: "No matter which ground he is playing, when he gets out every one in the audience goes into silence. Be it AUstralia, England, West Indies, SouthAfrica, NewZealand or anywhere else." He has the ability to break country barrier. Thats SACHIN.

  • David on July 30, 2010, 7:41 GMT

    not all australian cricket fans are as bias as many contributors here. Sachin is clearly the best. Ponting is great but no where near as good as sachin. sachin averages 60 against au, he averages more away from india than in india (smashing the myth of easier batting wickets in india - ponting ave is 20 in india). sachin ave more in au than ponting. ponting has never had to face mgrath, warne. ponting batted 3rd behind langer, hayden etc... for most of his career, he came in to bat at 1 down for a lot of runs - ie no pressure. 1st ten years of sachins career he came in to bat at 2 down for not very many runs (until sehwag, dravid, gambir came along) - lots of pressure. India rarely had a decent bowler except kapil and harbijan - you need to take 20 wickets to win a test match so you cant compare ponting v sachins win-loss. sachin has saved more tests off his own bat than ponting has won tests off his bat. Sachin also has over 40 test wickets and 150 ODI wickets.

  • Kannan on July 30, 2010, 7:08 GMT

    If Gavaskar had played during the Sachin era and as many matches, he would have easily broken all of Sachin's records. Frankly, I don't think too much of a batsman if he takes the ball on the helmet or when he decides to pad the ball by hiding the bat behind it. I think, when a guy uses the pad without any attempt to play, then even if the ball is bouncing above the stumps or pitched outside the legstump line, the batsman should be given out! Likewise, when a batsman takes his eye off the ball and takes the ball on his helmet, give him out! That said, SRT's 48 centuries is awesome. It has silenced all the Aussi commentators who think Ponting is the greatest! Comparing Ponting to SRT is like comparing Mika Hakkinen to Schumi! 20 years from now, it will be "Ponting who"?

  • Shashikant on July 30, 2010, 7:06 GMT

    I don't understand why people keep comparing players from different era's... Some one just compared Sir Don's average to Sachin's Average and its been always the case.. Would just like to ask as to how many bowling greats have been known form Sir Don's era? Its only the batsmen that have created all the records from that era. On the other hand Sachin has faced bowlers like Glen Mc Grath, Murali, Shane Warne, Walsh, Ambrose, Cork, Donald, waqar, shoiab, and many more.. These were/are not just great bowlers but also most of the record holders at some point or the other.. Also Sir Don played less than one third of test matches of what Sachin has played plus more than 400 one day matches and the rigorous travel that he has to go through for playing these.. So guys, if you got to compare, pick the players of the same generation and then see who is better...

  • Dummy4 on July 30, 2010, 6:49 GMT

    I simply fail to understand the mentality of critics here. Is there a point in making such ludicrous comments by stating where he has or has not made hundreds? To question his performance, his genius and love for the game is at this point sheer stupidity. Now to behold this double century as one his best ever is also plain zealotry having no basis whatsoever. It was most certainly an easier wicket to bat on and the same is evident by the way runs were scored by everyone. Yet a double ton requires patience and so no one can take away the credit for one, be it sanga or sachin.. A small difference may be that sachin had to score while chasing and carrying a burden of ensuring the order does not collapse as had happened in the previous Test which is truly a test of temperament. He himself states that on such pitches its easy to go for your shots but to control ur instinct is the key.. Why criticise such a humble sportsmen whose greatness is indubitable?

  • Harmon on July 30, 2010, 6:48 GMT

    8. Sachin scores X amount of runs, the team wins but Sachin is selfish since he scored those runs for himself and not for the team. Sachin scores X amount of runs, gets out and then the team loses so Sachin is obviously selfish since he cudnt get the team through and chose to get out once he got his quota of runs. Amazing thinking. Also, I think this theory can be applied to each n every single good or great batsman of any era. Why pick only on Sachin?

    9. No body is praising Sachin unnecessarily here. Tests are not just bout batting on flat tracks. Why did Aus lose to India in their prev tour? the pitches were flat there too and India got big runs when they batted. why cudnt the Aussie batsman reply in kind? Why cudnt Mr. Ponting score a double there? You see, its not just about batting on flat tracks. Tests have got several aspects.

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