One of Sachin Tendulkar’s most famous knocks in international cricket is the 143 he scored against Australia during the Coca-Cola Cup at Sharjah in 1998.
India rode on the batting legend’s heroics that night to qualify for the final of the tri-series and set up another clash with the Aussies.
Apart from facing the likes of Damien Fleming, Michael Kasprowicz, Shane Warne and Tom Moody, one other challenge that Tendulkar had to face in that match was the dust storm that came between the two innings. Australia batted first and scored 284/7 but because of a delay due to the storm, India’s target was revised to 276 from 46 overs.
“During the break, I was worried about the calculations,” Tendulkar told Star Sports’ talk show Cricket Connected. “One usually plans for a run chase based on the full quota of overs but when four overs were reduced and only nine runs or so were taken away from the target, I was pretty upset. In my mind, I wanted to win that game, I wanted us to reach the final as winners of the qualifying match.”
The dust storm even returned during the Indian innings and Tendulkar joked that he held on to Adam Gilchrist at that time because he didn’t want to be blown away. He hoped that Gilchrist’s weight would help hold both of them in place.
Tendulkar’s century helped India finish with 250/5 in 46 overs and qualify for the final. One key partnership he had during his stay at the crease was with VVS Laxman, who remained not out on 23 off 43 batting at No 6. The duo added 104 runs for the fifth wicket before Tendulkar departed for 143 off 131 deliveries.
Tendulkar revealed that there were a few moments during his stand with Laxman where he lost his cool at his batting partner, for which he received a scolding from his brother Ajit later on.
“I remember that a couple of times my emotions came out and I ended up shouting at Laxman: ‘run two, it’s my call, why aren’t you running?’ I received a scolding from my brother as soon as I reached home. He told me ‘these sort of things shouldn’t happen in the ground. He’s your teammate, he’s also playing for the team. It’s not your match alone; he’s also playing with you’. I got a bit of a hiding at home,” said Tendulkar.
Laxman, for his part, remembered how Tendulkar took on Warne with an inside out shot in the cover region on the rise; it was the standout stroke for the Hyderabadi legend.
“It was just an unbelievable exhibition of determination and the talent he possessed to win the tournament for Team India,” Laxman said later during the show.
Due to their net run-rate, India qualified for the final despite losing that match, but Tendulkar said that he was worried it wasn’t the right way for the team to reach the title clash.
“In my mind, I always wanted to win that game and qualify to the finals as a victorious team because I knew it might play a mental role. There is difference if you just qualify and when you qualify by beating them. So there the mind games start and obviously my first attempt was to win that game and if and when it was not possible then the second thought was always to qualify and try and beat them in the finals but that was the whole idea,” he said.
Tendulkar, of course, went on to score a century in the final as well – on his 25th birthday – to help India earn one of their most famous victories.
Watch Sachin Tendulkar’s interview with Star Sports here.