(File) Sachin Tendulkar smiles as he walks out of the ground after the second cricket Test between India and Australia at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. AFP/Dibyangshu Sarkar
Maybe the standard practice for Ranji Trophy games at the Wankhede Stadium, of not displaying a batsman’s score till he reaches fifty, helped.
Having struggled to get past the 20s since the Test series against New Zealand, it ensured the numbers didn’t play on Sachin Tendulkar’s mind as he looked to settle down.
By the time his score was put up on the scoreboard, the batsman had shifted into top gear and all outside factors had ceased to matter. Star watch
The few hundreds who had turned out to watch him play for Mumbai were treated to a vintage innings, which helped slay the demons that might have crept into his mind during the recent lean period.
Under the weather
In desperate need of game time, Tendulkar, battling an upset stomach since Thursday caused by a seafood dish, warmed up for the England Test series with an attacking century on the opening day of the Ranji campaign against Railways at the Wankhede stadium on Friday.
The innings was important to shake off the rust and get into rhythm. Being his last match before the first Test starts at Ahmedabad on November 15, it was an ideal opportunity to fine-tune his game, and he cashed in with a free-flowing 136-ball 137.
It was his first first-class hundred since January 2011 in the Cape Town Test, after reaching his first half-century in nine innings in all formats.
Happy to accumulate of late, his approach was refreshing on Friday. There was intent to score at every opportunity.
After he was made to wait 31 balls for his first boundary, the 39-year-old turned back the clock to unleash a wide repertoire of strokes, helping himself to 21 fours and three sixes. Ajinkya Rahane (105*) was on 46 when Tendulkar came in and he raced to his century before his younger teammate.
But he was not in the ideal physical condition, said Mumbai coach Sulakshan Kulkarni.
“The tummy trouble made him make frequent visits to the toilet, which left him dehydrated. He was feeling uneasy, so he dropped to No. 5. He was on a liquid diet and bananas. Right at the start, he told Rahane not to make him run much. Then, not to be beaten even one ball speaks about his application and concentration.”
From Mumbai’s point of view, there is more to come. After giving great support to Tendulkar, Rahane remained unbeaten.