Sachin Tendulkar made his last Test in Australia very special by hitting his 39th Test century in Adelaide on Thursday and said afterwards that he wanted to play a big innings at the Adelaide Oval.
"I have never had a big innings at Adelaide, so it was at the back of my mind. In 1999 I scored 65 here and that was my best, so I was determined to get a big one here. It also happens to be Sir Don's home ground. I wasn't thinking about that while batting out there, but am very pleased to have got a hundred at this venue," said Tendulkar after scoring an unbeaten 124 on the first day and helped India make 309 for five.
Tendulkar started carefully and took 18 balls to open his account and made his 124 off 172 balls. He also got to his century in style by hitting a six and a four in consecutive deliveries off left-arm spinner Michael Clark.
"I began carefully. It took me 15-20 balls to settle in, as I didn't get the ball in the right areas. It was after 2-3 drives, I was middling the ball well. After that the things got under control," said the batting maestro.
He also admitted that the century here was one of his complete innings. "The first straight drive off [Brett] Lee gave me a lot of confidence. I middled it and the shot went exactly where I wanted it to go. In the next over I repeated it [against Mitchell Johnson]. So I took it from there."
Tendulkar said: "There are days when you are moving well, days when you're not. There are also days when you middle the ball and days when you don't. You need to wait for that moment. I've felt those moments off and on in my career. Any hundred is special but when the team really needs one, it means more. Today there were big shots in between and defensive ones too. It was important we [Laxman and him] just stayed there and played according to the merit of the ball. We needed to play out the good spells properly."
He also added that the pitch has been playing well and it will necessary for India to put on a big total on board to win the crucial Test match and level the series. "We need to put a many runs as possible. No target has been set as yet. It is important to put up a big total in the first innings as in the second innings the cracks are going to widen up, things will become different then," said Tendulkar.
The batting maestro was also severe on left-arm spinner Brad Hogg and said: "Any bowler can get you out, you don't want to take anyone for granted. It all depends on the flow of my innings. If I pick the ball early enough, I will put it away. There were patches when he bowled well and patches when I felt I could put the ball away. Whenever I got the opportunity I made it count. That was my strategy."
Tendulkar got to his century in style by smashing Michael Clarke for a six and four in consecutive deliveries. "I thought the wind was behind me and wanted to use it. I knew if I middled the ball, it would clear the field. Even if I don't middle it the wind would work.
"I was very positive at that stage and if the ball was there to put away, I was prepared to do that again. When I played that off-drive [to get to 100], I played inside out, though it was not a half-volley. I had that chance to force the ball. I got the time to force it a little bit."