Sachin Tendulkar’s knocks in the 1990s and the early 2000s had the magical touch of elevating the mood of the nation and making people forget their worries and problems for the moment.

There are many such innings, like the Desert Storm, the ton against Pakistan with an injured back in Chennai in 1999 and the famous double-hundred without a drive on the off-side in Sydney.

But one such knock that even the master batsman thought was his best, because it managed to bring a smile on the face of many Indians just two weeks after the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai, came at the MA Chidambaram stadium in December 2008.

The touring English team had returned home in the middle of the One-Day International series following the attacks in Mumbai but returned to play the Test series in December. Following that, it was decided to move the first match of the series from Ahmedabad to Chennai.

The hosts played catch-up on the first three days of the match as England took a first innings lead of 75 runs after bowling India out for 241. And when opener Andrew Strauss and middle-order batsman Paul Collingwood scored centuries to take the visitors to 311/9 declared in the second essay, it looked like the result was a mere formality.

The Indian team needed to chase 387 runs on a pitch that looked like it had craters on the surface, with plenty of turn and bounce on offer for the spinners.

Virender Sehwag, who went on to win the player of the match award, set the tone for an improbable chase when he along with opening partner Gautam Gambhir added 117 runs for the first wicket with the former scoring 83 runs in just 68 balls.

But scoring 256 runs on the final day on a difficult track was always going to be a challenge. And it did not help the Indian cause that Rahul Dravid departed after doubling his overnight total of two runs.

Tendulkar did struggle initially and could have been out on 10 had the catch been taken after the ball rebounded off Alastair Cook’s boot at silly-point. But once the right-hander settled down, he took control and along with Yuvraj Singh and helped India register the fourth-highest run chase in the history of the game.

Tendulkar showed exemplary discipline to play as late as possible and used the paddle sweep to great effect against Graeme Swann to not allow him to get into a rhythm after he had dismissed VVS Laxman soon after lunch.

A slow starter against spin, Yuvraj initially struggled against Swann but took the attacking option to get going as he hit the off-spinner for two consecutive boundaries to reach double figures.

Tendulkar, at the other end, was going strong and the only time England bowlers came close to getting him out was when Steve Harmison managed to hit his pads. But umpire Daryl Harper correctly pointed out that the ball would have gone above the stumps.

The batting maestro mostly dealt in singles, rocking on the back foot to nudge the ball towards square leg or playing the paddle sweep but the fans were definitely wondering if there could be a repeat of another Chennai Test against Pakistan, where a Tendulkar ton had gone in vain, if another Indian wicket fell.

But to Yuvraj’s credit, he managed to survive a few close calls and scored runs by using the sweep shot effectively as he grew in confidence.

Tendulkar was at his assured best and did not take any undue risks till England decided to take the new ball after tea and the runs began to come at a higher rate.

It was sort of poetic justice for the man from Mumbai when he guided India to a six-wicket win by completing his 41st Test century and dedicating the knock to the victims of the terror attack.

“From my point of view, I look at it as an attack on India, not just on Mumbai. It is an attack on India and it should hurt every Indian. It’s not only for the people of Mumbai, it’s for all of us. We’re Indians and that is how I look at it and I’d like to dedicate this hundred to all the people who have gone through such terrible times,” Tendulkar had said in the post-match presentation.

Watch Tendulkar’s epic knock here:

Yuvraj’s half century:

Sehwag’s blistering innings