Sachin at 50: Each of Tendulkar's 100 international hundreds - Part 1
With Tendulkar turning 50 today, we bring you some in-depth detail of the one statistic that became synonymous with his career.
On the occasion of Sachin Tendulkar’s 50th birthday, we take a look at his 100 centuries for India spanning from 1990 to 2012. We will be turning back the clock and celebrating Tendulkar’s centuries in five segments – Part 1: 1990-1995, Part 2: 1996-1998, Part 3 1999-2001, Part 4: 2002-2007, and Part 5: 2008-2012.
Part 1: 1990-1995
No 1: 119* vs England, Old Trafford, August 9-14, 1990 (Test #1)
By scoring two half-centuries and negotiating the might of the Pakistan pace attack at the age of 16, Tendulkar had affirmed his status as a boy wonder on his very first tour for India. Any player, regardless of how unique or gifted though, needs the confidence of reaching the three-figure milestone to truly believe that they belong at the highest level. Tendulkar's moment of reckoning came against England at Old Trafford in Manchester in August 1990.
Still only 17, a curly-haired Tendulkar produced a match-saving century under extreme pressure to allow India to salvage a draw when a defeat seemed inevitable. Having made 68 in India's first innings, Tendulkar walked in at 109/4 in their second innings. Mohammad Azharuddin and Kapil Dev perished soon after, leaving the visitors reeling at 183/6. With the target of 408 well out of sight, it was all about occupying the crease.
Tendulkar, in the company of Manoj Prabhakar, duly exhibited his genius with an unbeaten 119 off just 189 balls. The two batters stitched together an unbroken partnership of 160 for the seventh wicket as India ended with 343/6 in 90 overs. It was also the first time that Tendulkar won a Player-of-the-Match award, and he was given a champagne bottle for his efforts (he wasn't permitted to drink at the time since he was only 17). He finally opened that bottle at his daughter's first birthday in 1998.
No 2: 148* vs Australia, Sydney, January 2-6, 1992 (Test #2)
After showing that he can conquer English conditions on his first tour of the UK in 1990, Tendulkar showed he could adapt to the pace and bounce in Australia too. At the Sydney Cricket Ground, where he would go on to hit a double hundred in 2003/04, Tendulkar took on the Australian bowlers and made an unbeaten 148 in India's first-innings total of 483.
For company for large periods of Tendulkar's innings was Ravi Shastri, who would go on to make a career-best 206. The Test is also remembered as Shane Warne's debut.
While most Indian batters would struggle in Australian conditions, Tendulkar, just 18 then, had no trouble facing the Australian pace attack of Craig McDermott and Merv Hughes. Among his most eye-catching strokes were on-drives between the bowler and mid-on and backfoot punches that pierced the ring of fielders on the off-side. Former Australia captain and eminent commentator Richie Benaud, in an interview in 2008, called his innings at Sydney in 1991/92 as one of the best he had ever seen.
No 3: 114 vs Australia, Perth, February 1-5, 1992 (Test #3)
By the time Tendulkar raised his bat and lifted his helmet to celebrate his third Test ton in Perth, there was no doubt in anyone's mind that a genius was gracing us with his presence. On a ground notorious for troubling visiting teams with its pace and bounce, Tendulkar showed his readiness to conquer conditions anywhere in the world.
His knock of 114 came in a first-innings total of 272, with the second highest-score being Kiran More's 43. None of the other batters were able to handle the hostility of the Australian attack on a surface tailormade to its strengths. Given the context of the conditions and the dire situation of the Indian team, this will probably count among his greatest innings.
Even as India lost the fifth and final Test by a comprehensive margin of 300 runs to suffer a 0-4 series defeat, Tendulkar's performance ensured that there was something to cherish in an otherwise forgettable tour.
No 4: 111 vs South Africa, Johannesburg, November 26-30, 1992 (Test #4)
Having made centuries in England and Australia, Tendulkar had already established himself as one of the best players in the world at the time. Just in case there was any doubt, Tendulkar would go on to display his precocious batting talent on South Africa's shores as well. In the second Test of a landmark series -- India was the first touring team to South Africa after Apartheid -- Tendulkar scored 111 against an attack spearheaded by the redoubtable Allan Donald.
Batting at No 4, he came in when India were 27/2 and scored a bulk of the runs as the team stuttered to a total of 227. By then, Tendulkar had already gotten accustomed to the challenge of having to bail the team out of trouble. It didn't matter that he was still a teenager playing in conditions largely alien to him. His first-innings effort allowed India to come away with a draw.
No 5: 165 vs England, Chennai, February 11-15, 1993 (Test #5)
It was a quirk of fate that only one of Tendulkar's first 21 Tests was played in India. It took him until 1993, as a result, to score a century at home. Playing just his third Test in India -- against the touring Englishmen in January-February 1993 -- he scored 165 in the first innings of the first Test at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in then Madras, beginning a love affair with a city where he racked up a truckload of runs.
Tendulkar's knock, alongside Navjot Singh Sidhu's 106, meant India scored 560/6 declared in the first innings. They needed to bat only once as the Indian bowlers skittled the visitors for 286 and 252, ensuring victory by an innings and 22 runs. While the series is remembered for the dominance of the Indian spin trio of Anil Kumble, Venkatapathy Raju and Rajesh Chauhan, it is also significant for witnessing the first of Tendulkar's 22 Test tons at home.
No 6: 104 vs Sri Lanka, Colombo, July 27-August 1, 1993 (Test #6)
While most of Tendulkar's centuries in the 1990s came with the Indian team's back to the wall, this was an exception. By the time Tendulkar came out to bat in India's second innings, they were well in front and looking to seal a comprehensive victory.
Electing to bat, India made 366 in the first innings, Vinod Kambli top-scoring with an innings of 125. When it was Sri Lanka's turn to respond, leg-spinner Anil Kumble came to the fore for India with figures of 24-3-87-5, restricting the hosts to 254 and securing a 112-run first-innings lead. When Tendulkar entered the fray in India's second innings, they were 176/2 with a handsome lead of 288. It allowed Tendulkar to express himself in the quest for quick runs. He finished unbeaten on 104 off just 161 deliveries with 11 fours and a six.
Sri Lanka folded for 236 in the fourth innings as India clinched a 235-run victory.
No 7: 142 vs Sri Lanka, Lucknow, January 18-22, 1994 (Test #7)
Tendulkar's next century also came against Sri Lanka, but this was a first-innings ton at KD Singh Babu Stadium in Lucknow. On a belter of a batting pitch, the toss of the coin fell India captain Mohammad Azharuddin's way. Azharuddin duly opted to bat and make best use of pristine conditions. Riding centuries by Tendulkar and Navjot Singh Sidhu, India racked up a mammoth first-innings score of 511.
While a young Muttiah Muralitharan was making his way for Sri Lanka -- he even took a five-wicket haul after 41.5 overs in the first innings -- the visitors simply did not have the all-round quality to pose problems to Tendulkar. This was a phase when the batting great would not only compile big scores but also dominate opponents with his aggressive repertoire of strokes.
Tendulkar and India were not even required to bat a second time in the match as the Sri Lankans crashed to an innings defeat.
No 8: 110 vs Australia, Colombo, September 9, 1994 (ODI #1)
Tendulkar finished his unparalleled career with 49 ODI centuries in 463 matches. Each of those tons came in his last 386 games as, astonishingly, he didn’t reach the three-figure mark even once in his first 77 ODIs.
Arguably the greatest cricketer in one-day history, Tendulkar’s highest ODI score before facing Australia in 1994 at Colombo was 84. He had entered the 80s four times but couldn’t go on and get the hundred. The right-hander was used in the middle order for a long time at the start of his career but once he switched to the opening position, he didn’t look back.
India were facing the Aussies in the World Series. They went on to win this tournament, which also featured Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Opting to bat first, Mohammad Azharuddin and Co finished with 246/8 before bowling out Australia for 215 in 47.4 overs.
Tendulkar scored 110 runs off 130 balls, with eight fours and two sixes. He was severe against his great rivals Glenn McGrath and Shane Warner and brought up his century off the latter’s bowling. This innings marked the beginning of an epic run for Tendulkar in the ODI format, with his rivalry against the Aussies going on to feature prominently.
No 9: 115 vs New Zealand, Vadodara, October 28, 1994 (ODI #2)
About a month-and-a-half after Tendulkar broke the shackles and hit his first ODI century, he scored his second in the format. This time it was at home against New Zealand in Vodadara.
It was a World Series match, with West Indies being the third team in the tournament. India went on to win the title again as Tendulkar starred with the bat.
After getting his first ODI ton, he had got three consecutive ducks before scoring an 8. He would have been under some degree of pressure heading into the New Zealand clash but he bounced back in style with a well-paced knock.
New Zealand won the toss and posted a total of 269/4. The visitors would’ve fancied their chances at the halfway mark, but India went on to complete a seven-wicket victory.
Tendulkar scored 115 runs off 136 balls, with nine fours and three sixes, as India finished with 271/3 in 48.1 overs. It was his first ODI century in India and the first of many centuries in successful run-chases.
No 10: 105 vs West Indies, Jaipur, November 11, 1994 (ODI #3)
Tendulkar’s third ODI ton came just two weeks after his second. Between those two knocks, he scored four consecutive half-centuries.
It was a five-match series between India and West Indies, and in the final game, Tendulkar helped the hosts complete a 4-1 win.
Opting to bat first, India finished with a total of 259/5. Vinod Kambli scored a 64-ball 66 at No 3 but it was Tendulkar’s ton at the top of the order that held the innings together. The Master Blaster showed remarkable restraint and scored 105 runs off 134 balls with 10 fours and no six.
India then bowled out the West Indies for 254 in 49 overs to complete a five-run victory.
Tendulkar was just 21 years old at that time but had registered three ODI tons within two months and was the mainstay in the Indian batting order.
No 11: 179 vs West Indies, Nagpur, December 1-5, 1994 (Test #8)
When West Indies toured India in late 1994, they were no longer the fearsome side that had ruled the roost in world cricket through the late 1970s and 80s. For India, though, this was still a major challenge considering their own standing at the time. The series was also pitting Tendulkar and Brian Lara against each other for the first time in Test cricket. Having scored 375 against England earlier that year -- the highest individual score in Test cricket till then -- Lara had a genuine claim to be considered the best batsman in the world.
It was Tendulkar who won the personal battle in that series though. After scoring 34 and 85 in the opening Test in Mumbai, he hit 179 against an attack led by Courtney Walsh in the first innings of the second Test in Nagpur. He backed that up with a contribution of 54 in the second innings of the Test, which ended in a draw.
Tendulkar ended the series as the second-highest run-getter with 402 runs at an average of 67, behind West Indies left-hander Jimmy Adams who frustrated the Indian bowlers with his pad play for a total of 520 runs. Lara could only manage 198 runs in three Tests at an average of 33.
No 12: 112* vs Sri Lanka, Sharjah, April 9, 1995 (ODI #4)
It was the Asia Cup and India needed a win against Sri Lanka to reach the final. They had lost to Pakistan in their previous game, having defeated Bangladesh in the tournament opener. The match was at Sharjah and as expected, Tendulkar stepped up in a must-win game.
Sri Lanka opted to bat first but could only manage a total of 202/9. India had been impressive with the ball but they weren’t done yet and delivered an even more emphatic performance with the bat.
While Manoj Prabhakar scored 60 off 79 as the other opener, Tendulkar smashed an unbeaten 112 off 107 balls. He was at his fluent best and hit 15 fours and a six in his innings.
India finished with 206/2 in just 33.1 overs to complete an eight-wicket win. They went on to win the final as well with another eight-wicket win against Sri Lanka.
This was Tendulkar’s first ton in Sharjah. He would go on to score six more at what was one of his happiest hunting grounds.
Read Part 2 here
- Sachin Tendulkar