Author : Tushar Agarwal
Sachin has had more forgettable hundreds than most people have hundreds.
That is bound to happen if one has 100 tons under his belt in the 200 Test matches that he has played. It is not always that the tons are enough to get the team past the line in a game, and these are no fond memories for any player.
Here are 5 such innings that were great efforts from his side, but did not produce the desired effects as much as he would have liked.
5. 65 vs Sri Lanka (World Cup 1996, Calcutta, 1996)
This was a high-drama encounter. Given a target of 251 to chase in 50 overs, India were on a roll at 98/1 with Sachin batting on 65 having hit 9 fours already.
But then he was stumped on a Jayasuriya delivery when Romesh Kaluwitharana was quick enough to dislodge his bails before he could return to his crease. This being the era when India clicked only when Sachin played, the particular match was no different, and the next 6 wickets fell within the next 22 runs.
The Indian supporters in the stands decided that they had had enough, and they resorted to throwing waste on the cricket field and even set fire to a specific are in the stands. The players went off the field for 15 minutes, but could never resume play as the crowd was in no mood to be controlled.
The match officials gave the match to Sri Lanka, and they progressed to the finals. It turned to be a forgettable inning and an even more forgettable game for Sachin, given the extra unwanted events that happened and the sad way in which India exited the tournament, getting the anger of the crowd as they did so.
Aravinda de Silva was adjudged man of the match for his innings of 66 of 47 balls that featured as many as 14 fours. Only two other Indian batsmen along with Sachin entered double figures as the team slumped to a final score of 120/8, after which play stopped.
4. 146 vs Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe in India, Jodhpur, 2000)
This was a lone hand played by Sachin in an innings that could only sum up to 283 after his masterful score of 146, that included 15 fours, 2 sixes and came of just 153 balls.
Dravid did help him build his innings early on, and they were part of a 114 run-partnership of which he contributed just 30. Sachin was in a murderous mood the first half of his innings as he showed the crowd all his trademark shots ranging from the cover drive to the straight drive to the flick to mid-wicket.
He even partnered with the tail to get India to a reasonable total before he got out as Zimbabwe’s 8th victim with the team score at 235. This was his 27th hundred. Zaheer Khan propelled the score even further with 4 huge hits in the final over to get India to 283, a score they thought they would easily defend and wrap up the 5-match series 3-0.
But in a game which saw many changes of fortune, it was Zimbabwe who came out victorious with 1 wicket remaining and just 1 ball left to be bowled. The Flower brothers reached scores of 70 and 77 and were instrumental in giving their team the win.
Henry Olonga hit the winning run on the first ball he faced after wickets had fallen on the previous two deliveries. Sachin’s effort had gone once again in vain. It was a forgettable century, in an otherwise memorable match for the Zimbabweans. Grant Flower (who also got 3 wickets) was man of the match.
3. 141 vs Pakistan (India in Pakistan, Rawalpindi, 2004)
This came during the Indian tour that was watched and talked about very widely that time, as the tour was to Pakistan, one that was happening after a very long time. Pakistan batted first and set India 330 to chase, Shahid Afridi having produced another quick-fire innings of 80 of just 58 against his favoured opponents.
When India came to bat, Sachin opened with Sehwag, and departed only when the score had reached 245, he having scored 141 of those. The middle order failed to make the remaining 80 odd runs of the 11 overs that remained, and India fell short by 12 runs. India needed just 16 off the final 2 overs, but were undone by some good bowling by Shoaib Akhtar who was playing his 100th ODI, who took the two final wickets.
Sachin’s innings comprised of 17 fours and a six. Most of his boundaries came in the mid-wicket, square leg and fine-leg region, and totally he got more than 100 of his runs on the on-side (not typically how most of his innings are). He was the man of the match, as no other performance came close to his this particular game. Ramesh Powar and Balaji did try and get some boundaries towards the end, but it was not to be, even though Indians looked certain of pulling it off as long as Tendulkar was out there in the middle.
2. 136 vs Pakistan (Pakistan in India, Chennai, 1999)
This was a real heartbreak for Sachin as well as all Indian cricket lovers. Playing with a sore back, Sachin somehow managed to get going and almost took India home, and Pakistan were only too happy to win in the end with the small margin of 12 runs.
India were set 271 to win in the final innings of this test, which was not unachievable by any means. Sachin, who had got out on a duck the previous innings, more than made up for it with his heroic effort of 136 (18 fours).
His wicket fell when India were just short of the target, after which 3 wickets fell within a span of 4 runs to hand Pakistan the victory. Saqlain Mushatq took 5 in this game what went down to the wire. Nayan Mongia was part of an impressive run-stand with Tendulkar that added 136 for the 6th wicket.
The game ended on the 4th day itself, and Sachin was once again Man of the Match in a game that did not see any matching performances from the other Indians, which was one of the reasons India lost the game despite having got a lead of 16 runs after the 1st innings.
1. 175 vs Australia (Australia in India, Hyderabad, 2009)
This was the most forgettable of them all, and surely Sachin would have been most disappointed of all players after this game. India were chasing a target of 350 set by the Aussies, Shaun Marsh scored a brilliant run-a-ball century. Sachin scored half the runs in less than half the balls (141).
Still, the team could not get over the line, and were all out 3 runs shy of the target with 2 balls left in the innings. His was the 7th wicket to fall, and even then India could have won easily, with 19 required of 17.
But some bad running between the wickets gave the opposition two wickets, and when Praveen Kumar was run out, it was curtains and Sachin’s century proved to be nothing but an effort in vain.
As expected, Sachin was adjudged man of the match, with the only other good score in the innings coming of Raina’s bat who scored 59 and partnered with Tendulkar in a 137 run-stand for the 5th wicket.
Sachin hit 19 fours and 4 sixes in his innings. He hit boundaries covering all areas of the ground, while he preferred straight hits for his sixes.
He singled out Hauritz and Hilfenhaus for some special treatment while he batted through the 7 partnerships he was part of to make his highest individual score against Australia and his 3rd highest score overall.