Now that the greatest batsman of the current era has called it a day, it will be close to impossible to repeat what Sachin Tendulkar has achieved in his illustrious 24-year career.
For all that went into the making of the batting genius, Tendulkar, too, had his initial struggles and doubters. But there is one moment or an innings in every batsman’s career that moulds the future path for his development. Tendulkar had many such moments, but one innings that will stand the test of time is his sublime 114 he crafted in the 1992 Perth Test, that announced his arrival on the big stage.
After making his Test debut in Pakistan at the tender age of 16, a little more than two years later, Tendulkar went on to his first tour to Australia. The then 19-year-old had scored a memorable maiden hundred in Manchester, England but Australia was considered more hostile.
Tendulkar’s hundred in Sydney notwithstanding, not many gave him a chance to succeed on the fastest pitch in the world at the WACA. The four consecutive losses the team had suffered prior to the game could not have helped matters.
But Tendulkar defied the fiery Australian pace attack and was the only batsman in the team to cross fifty on his way to a defining 114. While Mike Whitney was busy ripping apart the Indian batting line-up, Tendulkar offered resistance at the other end.
Tendulkar, too, fell too Whitney but only after the little man had negotiated the extra pace and extra bounce with a gutsy century.
He was able pick up the bounce and pace of the wicket in such a short time, which proved that he was always going to be a special player for the future.
Around a decade later, Whitney had to say this: “He came with a bit of a reputation, being so young. To have him among my wickets, I’m pretty happy about it.”
For former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar, who was Tendulkar’s teammate in that Test match, the century scored against the odds lists amongst the greatest ever. “The hundred he scored that day is one of the finest century in Test cricket ever,” recalls Vengsarkar to HT. “Against a strong attack and a pitch like the one at Perth, it was outstanding for someone of his age.”
Kiran More, who was at the crease with Tendulkar on February 3, 1992 when he scaled the three-figure mark, remembers the look of bemusement on the Australians face during the course of the innings.
“There were questions about how a boy with his height and Australian wickets would do, but he went on to play one of the best knocks,” More tells HT.