Sachin Tendulkar has spent almost as many hours on the field in the second Test against Sri Lanka as the number of years he has been around in international cricket. Yet, even after completing his fifth double century --- first in Sri Lanka --- on Thursday, the master was as fit as a youngster.
This was reflected in the couple of twos he ran to help skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni cross his 50 before tea. It's indeed remarkable for a 37-year-old man, who has played international cricket for almost 21 years. "It's been challenging. Of course the conditions are tough. Yesterday, when I got into the dressing room, I had a long ice bath. Then I did some stretches, had an early dinner and was in bed by 8.30. Just relaxed as much as possible," Tendulkar said.
"Because I went off to sleep early, I was up early morning, sort of relaxed a bit and stretched a little. When you are off the field, time flies in between. But that's what Test cricket is all about. For almost all four days, I have been on the field. It's been demanding on the body but it's held up pretty well."
The key to batting in such a situation, and on a pitch suited for stroke-play, is to avoid the temptation to go for big
shots. "It was tough. There were times when you felt you could go over the fielders. But the match was poised critically. It was an important phase and one mistake could have cost us quite a bit," Tendulkar said.
"So, I felt it was important to just try and control all those temptations, and play a percentage game. We were scoring runs, not at a brisk pace, but the scoreboard was ticking."
Though he referred to the flat track as a "batting paradise", the master admitted it wasn't an ideal track for Test cricket. "From a batsman's point of view, best in the word definitely. (But) It's not (result oriented). The surface from a batsman's point of view is terrific, but there’s not enough help for the bowlers."