Tuesday, March 29, 2011

SRT 18,000*

25th March 2011 - AHMEDABAD: Sachin Tendulkar crossed another milestone as he went past the 18,000-run mark in ODIs during India's World Cup quarterfinal match against Australia.

Playing in his 451st ODI, Tendulkar reached the milestone with a single off Australian fast bowler Brett Lee in the 14th over of India's run-chase at the Sardar Patel Stadium at Motera. He was 45 short of 18,000 runs before the match. Now he has 18,008!

The 37-year-old Indian maestro is the highest run-getter in both Tests and ODIs. He has till date scored 14,692 runs from 177 Tests at an average of 56.94 with 51 hundreds and 59 half-centuries. His aggregate score in all forms of cricket after this match stands at a staggering 32,710 runs!

Tendulkar, who is playing in his sixth World Cup, is also the highest ever run-scorer in the showpiece event. In fact, in the current edition, at the end of the last game, he leads the pack with 379 runs from seven innings with 2 centuries.

However, he just missed out on a special “tribute” - playing against India, Don Bradman struck his 100th first-class century at the Sydney Cricket Ground in 1947 and Thursday night Sachin Tendulkar could not repay the compliment by scoring his 100th international century against the Australians. India, though, ended Australia's 12-year-old dominance over the World Cup by winning the quarterfinal and Tendulkar played a big part in it, scoring a fifty.

The setting at Sardar Patel Stadium was perfect for Tendulkar's special knock. He raised hopes with his aggressive stroke-play but departed in the 19th over when he edged fast bowler Shaun Tait to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin after scoring a valuable 53 off 68 balls. In fact, Tendulkar didn't even wait for the umpire's decision and started walking back (just like he did in the last game), but a hesitant Ian Gould asked him to wait while he consulted with the third-umpire to check the legality of the delivery. TV replays showed Tait was on the verge of bowling a back-foot no-ball but didn't ground his heel and thus it ended the hopes of billions of fans, who were eagerly waiting to see Tendulkar achieve the feat at Motera, which has history written in every nook and corner of the stadium.

The stadium was special for Tendulkar as 12 years ago it was where he got his maiden double Test century against New Zealand. This is also the same ground where Indian legends Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar achieved historical landmarks. Kapil broke New Zealander Richard Hadlee's record to become the highest wicket-taker in Tests, while Gavaskar became the first batsman to score 10,000 runs in Tests.


Footnote: After 2009, he tweaks again

WHO TURNED the ball most for India on Thursday? It was neither Harbhajan nor Ashwin or Yuvraj. It was the Little Master Sachin Tendulkar. It’s a while since Sachin last bowled for India. And the fans,who came to see Sachin scoring his 100th ton in international cricket, were ecstatic when they saw Sachin having the ball in his hand in the 30th over of Australian innings.

It was almost after two years that Sachin was seen rolling his arms in ODIs.He last bowled against the same opposition in Guwahati in 2009. And just in his third delivery, Sachin had Aussie vice-captain Michael Clarke beaten all ends up.

Seeing the pitch providing assistance to spinners, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni threw the ball to the master blaster to bowl the 30th over. The first two balls were not on the mark and both Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting collected a single each.But the third one saw some vicious spin. It was a well-flighted one that pitched outside leg, and Clarke attempted a forward defensive shot but the ball spun prodigiously and went past the batsman’s off stump.Clarke looked bemused. Maybe the delivery was too good for him. His two overs cost nine runs.

Zaheer Khan was India’s standout bowler, but the ball of the game was bowled by Sachin Tendulkar. The Little Master proved that he is a genius with the ball too. If it were to be bowled by an Englishman, the English media would have declared it the ball of the century.

Tendulkar, bowling the 30th over of Australian innings, was asked to swing his arm around. In the absence of a leg-spinner, Tendulkar bowled some leg-breaks and came out with deliveries that would have made a certain Shane Warne proud. He turned the third ball of his first over square, the ball pitching outside the leg stump and missing the off-stump by a distance.

Michael Clarke, facing the delivery, was reduced to a mute spectator. He just saw the ball spin and beat him. He missed the edge but a better batsman would perhaps have got out to the delivery. Clarke, looking awfully off-colour, was not good enough to negotiate the delivery.

Tendulkar, incidentally, was bowling in an international after over 15 months. He went on to bowl another over and conceded just nine runs in his two overs at an average of 4.5. One would have wished Dhoni to give Tendulkar a few more overs and Munaf Patel a few less.


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