It was a wait like no other in Sachin Tendulkar’s career.

Having played an One Day International for the first time in Australia in December 1991, Tendulkar went 16 years and three months without scoring a century in the country. There were many impressive Test knocks (not least, one of his best ever in Perth in 1991-’92), but the three-figure mark eluded him in ODIs — the format he ruled for most of his career.

In the 39th match he played Down Under, he ended that wait in some style.

In the first final of the Commonwealth Bank Tri-series in 2008, against Ricky Ponting’s Australia who were the favourites to walk away with the title, MS Dhoni and Co pulled off a memorable win at Sydney Cricket Ground.

Sachin Tendulkar's record in Australia

Mat Inns Runs HS Ave 100s 50s
ODIs in AUS 47 46 1491 117* 34.67 1 10
Tests in AUS 20 38 1809 241* 53.20 6 7

Chasing 240 in the first of three finals, Tendulkar was in imperious touch from the word go. It had not been the best of tournaments for him, as he had scored just one half century in the eight innings in the series that also involved Sri Lanka. But there were signs of him returning to his best, as he hit a 63 in Hobart in his previous outing.

He picked up from he left off, and against a pumped-up Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson, he went about like a man possessed to end his wait for a century in Australia. More importantly, he ensured he took his side to a win.

The highlight of the innings was the partnership with a young Rohit Sharma, who came in to bat at 87/3. It was the kind of situation that would have, often in the past, seen India crumble in a run-chase. But Rohit and Tendulkar went about their business in measured manner, putting away the bad balls and never letting the required run-rate escalate.

And, in a moment that summed up the determination with which he was operating that night, with Tendulkar one hit away from a century, Lee produced a beamer that hit the Indian legend flush on his neck. Tendulkar just brushed it aside and went on to celebrate a special innings.

It marked the end of another wait too as, according to ESPNCricinfo, it had been 37 matches since Tendulkar’s 41st ODI ton (which came against West Indies in Vadodara in January 2007). In that ensuing period, Tendulkar had been dismissed six times in the 90s, including thrice on 99.

It was also India’s first ODI win at SCG against Australia.

That innings would be followed by another special one as Tendulkar reportedly braved a niggle to make sure India finished the tournament as winners with two wins out of two finals. That knock in Brisbane would be Tendulkar’s third highest ODI score in Australia.

“It was a terrific effort by the whole team. Rohit Sharma really batted well, full credit to him. He has a terrific head on his shoulders, he’s calm and composed, and today I batted with him for the first time for such a long time,” player of the match Tendulkar said.

“It was important today that the second half of the game we played well and that’s what we did. The [groin] niggle has been there for a while. It’s wonderful that I’m still able to get out in the middle and score some runs.”

Tendulkar's top five ODI scores in Australia

Runs SR Opposition Ground Match date
117* 97.50 v Australia Sydney 2 Mar 2008
93 90.29 v Pakistan Hobart 21 Jan 2000
91 75.20 v Australia Brisbane 4 Mar 2008
86 90.52 v Australia Brisbane 18 Jan 2004
77 60.62 v West Indies Brisbane 11 Jan 1992

One of the banners at the ground read “Thank you for the memories, Sachin” as many thought it would be his final tour of Australia. He did return one more time, but that innings at SCG remained his last century (across formats) in a country where he had many moments to cherish.

Highlights of Sachin's innings
Match highlights
Sachin talking about the upper cut that we saw quite a lot in the 2007-'08 tour of Australia

Stats courtesy ESPNCricinfo