Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fabulous Five: Sachin Tendulkar's five best innings in Test cricket

On 15th November 2009, Sachin Tendulkar will complete 20 years in international cricket. In a build up to that momentous day, MSN India presents a series of features dedicated to the Mumbai maestro.In this Sachin special we bring out the best of Sachin Tendulkar in the longer version of the game. Take a look at the five best Test innings played by this genius.

Old Trafford Test vs England 1990

In his debut series in England, Tendulkar all of 17 years and 112 days scored a Test century at Old Trafford. The century knock staved off English efforts for a victory in the Test. At 186-6 India awaited yet another Test loss away from home, but Sachin had plans of his own. In rear-guard action that would have made the original 'little master' Sunil Gavaskar proud, the teenager pulled his team towards the safer shores of a draw. Sachin finished with an unbeaten knock of 119 runs. This was Sachin's first century and the beginning of many more.

Perth Test vs Australia 1992

A diminutive Sachin, young and untested on the bouncy and fast wickets of Australia, took on the pace battery in the Perth Test. When most of the batsmen squirmed away from the bouncers and were unable to cope with the extra pace of the wicket, Tendulkar was a picture of concentration and calm. Most of his runs came square of the wicket or straight down the ground, which is an indication of how well he was judging and playing the extra bounce in the pitch. India made 272 in the first innings and almost half of it came from Sachin's blade. The knock of 114 runs was a classic, and one which is rated supremely by the little master himself.

Cape Town Test vs South Africa 1997
India were yet again in a familiar situation on an away tour; the South African bowlers had blown away the fragile top-order and at 58-5 the story looked more than just grim. The vistors were shot out for 100 and 66 in the first Test at Kingsmead, Durban, and a repeat looked well on cards. This until Azhar joined Sachin Tendulkar at the crease. Both the batsmen took on the bowlers and turned the firing the other way. While Azhar played at his carefree best, Sachin was more compact but no less grand.

Chennai Test vs England 2008
Tragedy at its best! Sachin Tendulkar almost pulled off the win singlehandedly, but then with 17 runs remaining for a victory, holed out in the deep. What more, within a space of five runs India capitulated and handed over the Test to Pakistan. Reports claimed that the loss was so heart-breaking for Sachin that tears swelled up in his eyes. Playing under immense pressure and an agonising back strain, Tendulkar produced a gem of an innings but alas it was not enough to ring home a sweet victory over arch-rivals Pakistan.

Chennai Test vs England 2008
A record chase of 387 runs loomed at India in the fourth innings and while Sehwag's rocket-paced 83 runs set up the game for India, Sachin's unbeaten knock of 103 runs delivered the knock-out punch. It was a flawless innings which took the match away from the visitors. A determined Sachin reached his 41st hundred with a boundary which simultaneously brought India the winning runs. Overjoyed, Tendulkar leapt in the air, pumped his fist and relished a memorable win. All talk of him not measuring up in crunch situations looked like feeble excuses now.

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