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Thread: Sachin's Top 10 Centuries!

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    Smile Sachin's Top 10 Centuries!



    To compile a list of Sachin Tendulkar's top ten hundreds in both formats – out of 99 let's not forget – is almost Mission Impossible. Partab Ramchand however makes a brave attempt.



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    114 vs Australia, Perth, 1992

    It must have been nerve racking even for a prodigiously gifted teenager like Sachin Tendulkar to bat on a fiery WACA wicket at Perth. For one thing, India had been outclassed in the series having lost three of the four previous Tests. Secondly, the Aussies had packed their side with pacemen and on duty during the final Test were Merv Hughes, Mike Whitney, Paul Reiffel and Craig McDermott.

    Some indication of what lay in store for the Indians came about when Javagal Srinath, Manoj Prabhakar and Kapil Dev took nine of the ten wickets as Australia were all out for 346. When the Indians came in to bat, super fast deliveries whizzed past their noses and their heads even as they were struck repeatedly on the body.

    Super quick reflexes were required to negotiate the pace quartet on a fast and bouncy track and the Indians did not seem to have anyone courageous enough to counter the fiery bowling or the alien conditions. But there was one batsman, not yet 19, who was prepared to take the fight into the enemy camp. The curly haired Tendulkar came in at 69 for two and saw his teammates depart, mostly for single digits.

    He however stood firm until, joined by Kiran More for the ninth wicket, he launched into a furious counter attack. From 159 for eight, the two took the score to 240 when Tendulkar was out. But in the meantime he had reached a priceless 114. His innings provided the abiding memory of the match even if India lost by 300 runs.

    Even today his knock is held in awe and a few years ago Ian Chappell, in a veiled tribute to the Perth hundred, observed that "to expect Tendulkar to bat the same fearless way as he did in Perth all those years ago is to undertake an exercise in futility."



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    169 vs South Africa, Cape Town,1996-97




    South Africa at home were always going to be a tough proposition and the bowling in the hands of Allan Donald, Shaun Pollock, Brian McMillan and Lance Klusener was particularly strong, given the pacy and bouncy tracks in their own backyard. Enough indication of the unenviable task before the Indians was provided in the first Test at Durban in which the Indians suffered a double debacle - 100 and 66 - on their way to defeat by 328 runs.



    In the second Test at Cape Town, South Africa led off with 529 for seven declared. A repeat of Durban seemed on the cards when India were 58 for five. Tendulkar, who was the captain, had entered at 25 for three and was now joined by his predecessor Md Azharuddin. In a thrilling counter attack, the two added 222 runs for the sixth wicket before Azharuddin fell for 115.



    With only the tail for company, Tendulkar unleashed a flurry of strokes and was at his dazzling best despite the menace posed by the fearsome attack. He was last out at 359. In a stay of 5-1/2 hours, he faced 254 balls and hit as many as 26 fours. Considering the quality of the bowling and the fast and bouncy track, it has remained one of his best centuries even if India lost by 282 runs.




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    155 not out vs Australia, Chennai, 1998

    The India-Australia series was billed as 'Tendulkar vs Warne' - the world's best batsman pitted against the world's best spinner. The first Test at Chennai would obviously set the stage for the contest within a contest. The leg spinner won the opening round, having Tendulkar caught at slip for four in the first innings.

    But the second time around, Tendulkar had more than his share of revenge. While he got runs effortlessly against the pace of Michael Kasprowicz and Paul Reiffel and the off spin of Gavin Robertson, he meted out special treatment to Warne, hitting him for fours and sixes galore.

    Coming in on the fourth morning with the score 115 for two - India were 71 runs in arrears on the first innings - Tendulkar did pretty much what he liked with the bowling and when Md Azharuddin declared at 418 for four late in the day, Tendulkar was unbeaten with a magnificent 155 off just 191 balls with 14 fours and four sixes.

    It was an innings marked by some dazzling stroke play even by his high standards and Warne finished with the ragged figures of one for 122 from 30 overs. There was no doubting who had won this round. Tendulkar's mastery had wrested the initiative, the hunter had become the hunted and Australia went hurtling to a 179-run defeat.



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    143 vs Australia, Sharjah, 1998



    It really is difficult to decide between two successive hundreds against Australia at Sharjah in 1998. One was in a winning cause, the other in a losing cause. But it was the hundred made in a losing cause that enabled India to enter the final where Tendulkar's 134 on his 25th birthday scripted a glorious title triumph in the Coca Cola Cup.

    However it was his 143 compiled a couple of days before in a desperate situation that gave the Indians an avenue to challenge Australia for the title. India had to win their last league game against Australia to qualify for the final - or at least pip New Zealand on superior run rate.

    The Australians led off with 284 for seven in 50 overs but the target was revised to 276 from 46 overs following a dust storm. The qualification target was 237 but even this seemed difficult with the Indians 138 for four after 29 overs. However Tendulkar was still there and he proceeded to pace his innings beautifully even as he made some dazzling strokes.

    It wasn't easy for the pressure on him was tremendous and the bowling line-up included the likes of Michael Kasprowicz, Damien Fleming and Shane Warne. It was only after he made sure that India had qualified that Tendulkar was out after facing 131 balls and hitting nine fours and five sixes.

    India finished at 250 for five to go down by 26 runs but more important had done enough to qualify for the final where another Tendulkar special of 134 was the highlight of India’s six-wicket victory. The double act prompted Warne in a moving gesture to seek Tendulkar's autograph on his shirt while admitting that he 'was hit by the best batsman in the world.'



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    140 not out vs Kenya, Bristol, 1999



    Under normal circumstances, a hundred against a non-Test playing nation should not even be considered for inclusion in a top ten list. But then these were not normal circumstances. India's campaign in the World Cup had got off to a shaky start. They had played two, lost two before taking on Kenya.

    Tendulkar had missed the second game against Zimbabwe to return to India for the funeral of his father who had passed away suddenly. Even as there was speculation as to when he would return to bolster the Indian campaign - or whether he would return at all - Tendulkar flew back to Bristol and with an awe-inspiring display gave the Indians fresh hope.

    As Wisden recorded: 'When Tendulkar came in at 92 for two, Bristol heard a roar from the crowd that probably startled the lions in the zoo.' For the next 29 overs Tendulkar and Dravid did pretty much what they liked with the bowling but the former was always the dominant partner in a World Cup record third wicket partnership of 237 runs.

    Dravid was unbeaten with 104 but was clearly overshadowed by Tendulkar who started carefully but accelerated after each landmark. The fifty came off 54 balls, the 100 off 84. He hit the last ball of the innings for six - his third in addition to 16 fours - to finish on 140 from 101 balls. It was his 22nd ODI hundred but the first when not opening. His innings knocked the fight out of Kenya who could get no more than 235 for seven in 50 overs to go down by 94 runs. The Indian campaign was back on track thanks mainly to Tendulkar who dedicated his highest World Cup score to his father's memory.



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    136 vs Pakistan, Chennai, 1999



    The high profile India-Pakistan series started in Chennai and India took the opening day’s honours by dismissing the visitors for 238. Openers VVS Laxman and S Ramesh gave the Indians a good start by putting on 67 runs but then they slumped to 72 for three. Among those out was Sachin Tendulkar for a third ball duck.

    Following fluctuating fortunes, India were set a target of 271 but this seemed to be a tall order when they were 82 for five on the morning of the fourth day. However Tendulkar was still there and on him rested the team's hopes. The pressure on Tendulkar was enormous for on a pitch responsive to spin he had to tackle Saqlain Mushtaq and Shahid Afridi besides the experienced and intelligent pace duo of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis.

    Inch by inch, run by run Tendulkar in the company of Nayan Mongia got India past 200. In the meantime he was battling back spasms but he batted through the pain inching India towards the target. The partnership added 136 runs before Mongia was out for 52. Tendulkar already past his hundred kept going though by now it was clear that he was in acute discomfort.

    At 254 for six, India seemed to have the match in their grasp when Tendulkar skied Saqlain to Wasim Akram at mid off. The last three wickets could add only four runs and India went down by 12 runs. But the final result could not take away the greatness associated with Tendulkar's knock. For 405 minutes he fought on gamely battling the bowling and the pain and his 136 is an innings remembered most fondly even today.



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    241 not out vs Australia, Sydney, 2004



    India and Australia came to Sydney for the fourth and final Test all square and with everything to play for. India batting first were given a good start with openers Akash Chopra and Virender Sehwag putting on 123 runs. Both however fell in quick succession and the score was 128 for two when Tendulkar entered.

    He had been in wretched form during the series having scored but 82 runs in five innings prompting the critics to write his cricketing obituary. But as the cricketing adage goes, form is temporary, class is permanent. With a thoroughly disciplined approach, Tendulkar met the challenge posed by the pace trio of Brett Lee, Nathan Bracken and Jason Gillespie as well as the leg spin of Stuart MacGill head on.

    With VVS Laxman (178), he added a record 353 runs for the fourth wicket and went along his merry way through the first three days. When Sourav Ganguly declared at 705 for seven, Tendulkar remained not out on 241 having batted ten hours and 13 minutes, facing 436 deliveries and hitting 33 fours.

    It was then his highest first class score and during his 32nd Test century he became the fourth batsman to reach 9000 runs. Considering the quality of the attack and the enormity of the innings, it has to be up there with the best. For good measure he added an unbeaten 60 in the second innings though the Test itself was drawn.



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    103 not out vs England, Chennai, 2008



    Even the normally unflappable Sachin Tendulkar must have been hurt by criticism that he had scored so many hundreds when his team had lost and he had not been there at the finish to script an Indian victory. Little wonder then that when he made the winning hit to complete his century against England at Chennai even Tendulkar - normally the picture of equanimity - could not hide his joy. After all he had answered his critics.

    It certainly was a meritorious triumph that he helped script for India had been at the receiving end for a major part of the match. In reply to England's 316, they had been bowled out for 241 to which Tendulkar had contributed 37. Centuries by Andrew Strauss (his second of the match) and Paul Collingwood helped England to consolidate and Kevin Pietersen declared at 311 for nine on the fourth evening.

    A target of 387 runs was not going to be easy but Virender Sehwag eased matters a great deal with an electrifying 83 off 68 balls. Still, the remaining batsmen had to complete the job on the final day and Tendulkar starred in the difficult task. Coming in at 141 for two, he saw Gautam Gambhir and VVS Laxman depart and at 224 for four the match hung in the balance.

    Tendulkar however found an able ally in Yuvraj Singh and the two proceeded to steer India home with a fifth wicket partnership of 163. While Yuvraj remained unbeaten with 85, Tendulkar went on to get 103 from 196 balls. He hit the winning boundary and was there at the finish scripting the highest run chase in a Test in Asia.




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    175 vs Australia, Hyderabad, 2009



    If the Gwalior double hundred is Tendulkar’s greatest ODI hundred, the 175 against Australia the previous year cannot be far behind. The fact that it came about in a losing cause - the visitors won by three runs - somehow enhances the quality of the feat as far as the gallantry aspect is concerned.

    Australia led off with 350 for four but Virender Sehwag and Tendulkar gave the Indians the right kind of start hitting 66 off 8.5 overs. However they slipped to 162 for four in the 24th over. The one consolation was that Tendulkar was not just still around he was batting with the freedom associated with his younger days.

    He found an able partner in Suresh Raina with whom he added 137 runs for the fifth wicket from 19 overs to bring India back into the game. Tendulkar who reached his 100 off 81 balls raced to 150 off another 41 balls. Thanks to his brilliance India had a glorious chance to pull off a remarkable win for with three overs left, the hosts needed only 19 runs with four wickets in hand.

    To the first ball of the 48th over however Tendulkar scooped a slower delivery from debutant Clint McKay to fine leg and this effectively ended India's hopes. The last three wickets fell in a heap and India were bowled out for 347 in the final over. But Tendulkar was still obviously the choice of man of the match for his 175 for which he faced 141 balls and hit 19 fours and four sixes.




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    200 not out vs South Africa, Gwalior, 2010

    While it is impossible to zero in on Sachin Tendulkar's greatest Test hundred, it should be a no-contest when it comes to talking of his greatest ODI century. From the historic angle and for the sheer gigantic score, the double hundred against South Africa has to take pride of place.

    Other factors in its favour include the fact that India won by 153 runs and that the bowling line-up comprised the likes of Dale Steyn, Jacques Kallis, Wayne Parnell and Charl Langeveldt. For years cricket fans speculated as to which batsman would be the first to reach 200 in an ODI and not unexpectedly the favourites were Virender Sehwag, Adam Gilchrist, Chris Gayle and Shahid Afridi.

    Tendulkar was hardly thought of as a player who could be the first to reach this historic landmark but like good wine he was getting better with age - and not just in Test matches. India won a good toss and Tendulkar, a couple of months away from his 37th birthday, opened with Sehwag. A second wicket partnership of 194 runs with Dinesh Kartik provided the impetus after the early fall of Sehwag.

    Yusuf Pathan was rightly promoted but Tendulkar in a murderous mood by now matched even the big hitter during a third wicket partnership of 81 runs off 7.5 overs. Tendulkar who reached his hundred off 90 balls sped to 150 off another 28 balls and by now there was considerable excitement as to whether he would reach 200.

    He was for a time eclipsed by MS Dhoni who slammed 68 off 35 balls with seven fours and four sixes but Tendulkar was not to be denied his date with history. He crossed the record score of 194 in an ODI in the 46th over but was overcome by a bout of cramps.

    He however carried on and a single beyond point from the third ball of the final over brought up the 200 to a spontaneous reception from the capacity crowd. For the record, Tendulkar faced 147 balls, hit 25 fours and three sixes.



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    all his hundreds are great....tfs :-)

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