Sachin Tendulkar never ceases to amaze.
Even after 20 years of international cricket, over 30,000 runs in Tests and one-dayers to his name, his hunger is insatiable. There was a time when Indian batting depended on how he fared. Over the years, that burden has got shared but even today, he is the one answering most SOS calls.
India had lost the openers in quick succession on Sunday. The minnows tag attached to Bangladesh can make it difficult to curb instincts. But then he is different. He batted out the day to get India past the 200-mark with wickets falling at the other end at short intervals.
A wristy push to mid-wicket for a single got him off the mark. After an edge, off debutant Shafiul Islam, went between Imrul Kayes and the keeper to the thirdman boundary, he cut out the extra-cover drive from his repertoire of shots. And when an inside edge, off Shahadat Hossain, went towards the fine-leg boundary, Tendulkar was cursing himself.
He kept playing close to his body, nudging and pushing balls in the gaps. Just six fours from 140 balls elucidated the restrain he showed, something no other Indian batsmen did.
“One had to be patient when wickets were falling. One had to tighten up the game and shot selection became important. Somebody needed to hang around and get a partnership going. But that did not happen,” Tendulkar said.
Tendulkar crossed 13,000 runs in Tests when he reached 30. A crisp pull to the square-leg boundary, off a longhop from Mahmudullah Riyad, took him to the milestone. “Yes, it’s a nice feeling to get to 13,000 runs in Test cricket. Not that I was counting. I was focusing on the game when it appeared on the scoreboard,” he said.
Tendulkar then defended the batsmen when asked about the selection of shots by most. “Nobody plays a shot thinking that he is going to get out. (V.V.S.) Laxman was unlucky. Such things can happen in cricket. But the game isn’t over yet. There’s a long way to go,” he said.