It might be difficult to remember every Sachin Tendulkar century. He has a hundred of them. It might also be easier to forget those great Tendulkar knocks that ended in losing causes. In his One-Day International career, India lost 14 out of the 49 matches where Tendulkar scored a hundred.
However, looking back, some of Tendulkar’s best innings’ happened to be when is losses. In fact, his most famous innings of 143 against Australia in Sharjah in 1998 came in a defeat.
Eleven years later, in what was proving to be Tendulkar’s second coming after a lean patch where he scored only eight centuries in six years, the India opener scored another gem. Once again, it came against Australia, and once again, it ended in defeat.
However, his knock of 175 in Hyderabad was special in more ways than one despite the fact that India couldn’t get over the line. Tendulkar was 36 at the time. There were doubts over his ability to play the 2011 World Cup and India were up against it in the match after Australia score 350 while batting first. In addition, he lost partners at regular intervals that only added more pressure on his shoulders.
But Tendulkar, who started the innings playing second fiddle to Virender Sehwag, got into his own as the game progressed.
Batting on a score of 24 when Sehwag was dismissed with India’s score at 66, Tendulkar shifted gears soon after. By the time the next three batsmen managed to score 23 among them, the little master had raced to 95.
The chase was on and Australia were feeling the heat.
“It was certainly one of the best innings ever from Sachin. You just have to keep hanging in there, you just have to tell your bowlers to keep bowling to the plan. Just one bad shot and we could come in but Sachin didn’t play many bad shots today,” Australian captain Ricky Ponting said after the game.
Finding a partner in Suresh Raina, Tendulkar continued to accelerate after going past his hundred and put India within range of the Australian total.
Smashing 19 boundaries and four sixes, Tendulkar had punctured the confidence of a depleted Australian attack.
However, two quick wickets of Raina and Harbhajan Singh got the visitors back into the game and put Tendulkar under severe pressure. With the asking rate mounting, Tendulkar was forced to play an awkward shot that led to his dismissal.
India were still favourites to claim victory with the team needing just 19 runs off 17 deliveries to script an improbable victory.
Ravindra Jadeja seemed to have taken the responsibility to take India home but two unnecessary run-outs in the final two overs saw India get bowled out for 347.
Tendulkar was awarded the man of the match for his superlative innings, but the fact that India couldn’t win the game took the sheen off the knock a bit.
“I thought we started off really well then lost wickets. Suresh and I had a good partnership but in the end, it was disappointing. It was one of my best knocks, the pressure to keep scoring runs was there and we took it very close,” Tendulkar said after the game.
India may have lost the game but that knock reinvigorated Tendulkar’s career. Three months later, the little master became the first batsman in the history of ODI cricket to score a double century when he hammered the South African attack at Gwalior.
Tendulkar then took that form into the 2011 World Cup where he helped India end a 28-year wait for the world champion tag.
The knock of 175 saw the return of the great batsman in his typical destructive self, something that had been in short supply in the few years before the knock. After it, though, there was no looking back for the little master.
Watch the highlights of Tendulkar’s incredible knock below: