119 not out v England, Old Trafford, 1990
It was Tendulkar’s first Test century and a significant one, earning India a draw in the second Test against England at Old Trafford. Having made 68 in the first innings – taking 54 minutes to get off the mark – he emerged at No6 in the second, with his side toiling to save a draw, having been set an unlikely 408 to win. Playing his ninth Test at the age of just 17, Tendulkar displayed not only his natural talent but also his mental strength as he scored a sublime maiden Test century. Batting in a pair of Sunil Gavaskar‘s pads, his style echoed the legendary opener as he put on an unbroken 160 with Manoj Prabhakar.
114 v Australia, Perth, 1992
Arguably it was Tendulkar’s finest ever innings, with the Little Master gaining the respect of everyone in Australia. On one of the quickest wickets in the world Tendulkar refused to bow down to Craig McDermott and Merv Hughes as wickets tumbled around him. The ninth wicket to fall, Tendulkar had faced 161 balls for his 114 and his score featured a string of withering cuts for four and saw him accelerate through his second 50 runs in only 55 balls, in a team total that saw only three other batsmen score above 11.
169, v South Africa, Cape Town, 1997
Batting second after South Africa had racked up a huge first innings total of 529, India quickly found themselves in deep trouble at 58 for five. Again it fell to Tendulkar to rescue the situation, which he did by combining with Md. Azharuddin in a stand of 202 to haul India past the follow-on mark. It needed quite an unbelievable catch in the deep by Adam Bacher to get rid of him.
143 v Australia, Sharjah, 1998
This was a match not even the most die-hard Indian fan would have rued India’s loss. Yes, India lost, but Sachin won millions of hearts with his incredible batting. There was joy even in the defeat. India were confronted with the challenge of scoring 285 to win or 254 to pip New Zealand and qualify for the final on net run-rate. India were staring defeat in the face as almost a run-a-ball was needed in the remaining overs. As if things were not bad enough, a dust storm then hit the stadium, halting the game for about half an hour. India’s target was revised to 276 to win and 237 to qualify. ‘I’ll do it,’ he promised Aunshuman Gaekwad, the coach, and did it in style.
140 not out v Kenya, Bristol, 1999
A century against a non-Test playing nation would not have usually made it to list of Sachin’s best knocks. It does find a place because the circumstances in which this innings was played. India were under pressure to win this game to stay in the competition as they had lost their previous two games to South Africa and Zimbabwe. Sachin did not play against Zimbabwe as he had to return to India because of unfortunate death of his father. With the team needing him, he put his personal tragedy behind and returned to England. He arrived a day after his father’s funeral and produced an innings, which shall rank among all-time best. Setting aside his personal grief, he took India to a big score, thus setting up a comfortable win. He was crafting this century for his ‘baba’ and his first reaction on reaching the landmark was to look up to the skies, in reverence to his late father.
98 v Pakistan, Centurion, March 2003
Okay, this isn’t a hundred per se, but it was worth much more. Chasing 275 to beat their bitter rivals in the World Cup group stage, India needed a swift start – and Tendulkar provided the launch pad with a six and two fours from the final three balls of Shoaib Akhtar‘s first over. He went on to make 98 from only 75 balls, despite cramp, before Shoaib finally got his man, thanks to Younus Khan‘s catch. India went on to win with more than four overs in hand.
241 not out v Australia, Sydney, 2004
Tendulkar’s highest Test score was 248 not out against Bangladesh but the finest of his six double centuries came against Australia in 2004. Batting first, Tendulkar’s innings straddled the opening three days before the tourists finally declared on 705 for seven. Despite his innings, and a quickfire second innings 60 not out to set the Aussies a victory target, India had to settle for the draw.
175 v Australia, Hyderabad, 2009
It was a night that broke hearts as the evergreen script of Sachin Tendulkar single-handedly fighting cricket battles for India was enacted again. Chasing Australia’s 350 for four, Tendulkar was soon punching, pulling, tucking and lofting the Australian bowlers. He unleashed almost all the strokes from his repertoire. He and Suresh Raina put on a century partnership for the fifth wicket and a fairytale began to take shape. The equation boiled down to 75 runs from last 10 overs and then 41 from last 5. But Raina and Harbhajan fell in succession. Tendulkar’s effort scoop one over short fine-leg proved fatal. India needed just 8 off last over, but the tailenders ran themselves out. Australia won by three runs, leaving Sachin and millions of fans heartbroken.
200 not out v South Africa, Gwalior, 2010
The leading runscorer in one-day international cricket, it was fitting that Tendulkar became the first batsman to score a double hundred in one innings. Opening the batting in a day-night match, Tendulkar took 90 balls for his first century before smashing his second off just 57. A single with four deliveries remaining saw Tendulkar pass the double-hundred milestone and send the adoring Indian fans wild.
114 v Bangladesh, Dhaka, 2012
It may not be his best innings, but it deserves mention simply because of the magnitude of his achievement after Sachin became the first batsman to make a 100 international centuries. Despite the huge amount of hype surrounding the landmark, which has shown little sign of abating during the prolonged wait, there was no over-the-top celebration. The helmet came off and there was a wave of the bat, he looked up at the sky, as he usually does on reaching a hundred, and he acknowledged his team-mates by raising his helmet towards the dressing room. It was not one of Tendulkar’s most swashbuckling innings, more about efficient accumulation early on, before slowing down further as he neared the century, finally completing it off 138 deliveries. ~Sachin’s Top 10 Hundreds
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