Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar finally reached a milestone that every Indian cricket fan had been desperately looking forward to: his 100th international hundred. What made it doubly sweet was that no man had ever done reached a ton of centuries at the highest level before, nor has any man done it since. Ricky Ponting is the next highest with 71 centuries.
Tendulkar’s former teammate Rahul Dravid led the way in showering praise on the Master Blaster: “What he has done is set a benchmark for future generations which, probably, would be almost impossible for anyone to emulate. He has created a new milestone, which to my mind, is like Don Bradman’s average of 99.94, the most memorable feat that any cricketer has achieved.”
Playing their second match of the 2012 Asia Cup against the hosts Bangladesh, the home team won the toss and opted to bowl at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium in Mirpur. Tendulkar opened the batting for India along with Gautam Gambhir, but the Delhi-based left-hander was dismissed cheaply.
Tendulkar admitted soon afterwards that he had been under pressure because everyone had been talking about his 100th hundred wherever he went. “I was not thinking about the milestone, the media started all this; wherever I went, the restaurant, room service, everyone was talking about the 100th hundred. Nobody talked about my 99 hundreds. It became mentally tough for me because nobody talked about my 99 hundreds.”
He had waited 33 innings since his 99th ton, scored against South Africa in the World Cup the year before. This was one of Tendulkar’s slower hundreds, the century coming off 138 balls and the Mumbai batsman finally ending up with 114 off 147 deliveries. India finally finished with 289/5, with Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina also making half-centuries.
In reply, Bangladesh knocked off the target with four balls to spare, with Shakib Al-Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim scoring quickfire 40s to see their team home. Bangladesh and Pakistan would go on to contest the final of the tournament, with the latter ending up champions.
For fans of Tendulkar though, 16th March, 2012, will always be the day that their hero reached an improbable milestone.
Note: This article was originally published on March 16, 2017.
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