As Sachin Tendulkar's notched up his 100th international century and 49th ODI international hundred on Friday, it's a good time to rewind to April 22nd 1998 when Tendulkar produced one of his best ODI innings as he tore into the Australian bowlers.
The famous 'desert strom' knock of 143 against Australia, despite a defeat, helped India qualify to the final of the tri-nation tournament also featuring New Zealand. India eventually lifted the trophy by defeating Australia with Tendulkar producing another century in the final.
The India coach at the tournament, Anshuman Gaekwad, and members of the squad term it as the best knock Tendulkar has ever produced. Gaekwad told HT, "it was a must-win game and before the match we discussed we needed one guy to play a big innings. Sachin just said, 'I will do it'."
Gaekwad recalled how the champion batsman was nervous before the match. "While going to the stadium, Sachin always used to sit next to me and we used to talk but on that day he was very quiet and nervous. When I shook hands, his palms were wet but Sachin assured me it was a good thing for him."
Chasing 284 for win, India needed to reach atleast 254 to qualify for the finals but were in deep trouble at 138-4 in the 29th over, needing nearly 120 runs in 20 overs to qualify. To make things worse, a sandstorm stuck and brought the game to a halt. As a result, India had to score 94 runs in 87 balls to qualify. As the Aussies returned to the field again, they were caught in another storm from which they could not take shelter. Gaekwad recalls, "he came in during that break and was intensely focused. It was like he was still batting in the middle and he assured us he will stay till the end."