‘Don’t know what Sachin was thinking’: Waqar recalls 1999 India-Pakistan Chennai Test
The 1999 Chennai Test between India and Pakistan remains one of the best matches played between the two teams, and former fast bowler Waqar Younis, who was part of that match, explained how Pakistan closed the game after Sachin Tendulkar was dismissed. Chasing 271 for victory, India were reduced to 82/5 when Tendulkar and Mongia stitched a 136-run partnership to get India closer to the target.
With 53 left, Mongia played a rash shot that led to his dismissal. Waqar reveals that even though Mongia’s wicket was a shot in the arm for Pakistan, the players knew that as long as Tendulkar was batting, India were favourites.
“We took a new ball and first Nayan Mongia hit one in the air. I think he was in a rush or I don’t know what went through his mind,” Waqar said on The Greatest Rivalry Podcast. “He thought the game was over and they won that game, and they got little complacent, especially Nayan Mongia. And once he got out, we were still sort of thinking, ‘That’s not going to happen, we are not going win this game. Till the time Sachin is there, it’s not going to happen.’”
Tendulkar batted on, despite a troubled back, brought up a fighting century. However, Pakistan had the final laugh as Tendulkar’s dismissal with India 17 away, allowed the visitors to close out the game as Saqlain Mushtaq ran through the final four batsmen for four runs.
Pakistan secured a 12-run win, but even after two decades, Waqar is puzzled by the shot Tendulkar played which led to his dismissal – a heavy off Saqlain that took the top edge for Wasim Akram to take the catch.
“I don’t really know, to be honest, what Sachin was thinking at the time. Because they were cruising, it was not an issue, they still had four wickets in hand and they needed, I think, 16 runs,” Waqar said.
“The way he was batting, it was just out of this world. And then in the very next over, I think, to Saqlain Mushtaq, Sachin hit one in the air and that was it. That confidence, that belief started creeping in that now we will not allow them to get those 15-16 runs, whatever was required.
“And then Saqlain just got all over them. It was hard for them to defend, or to hit out and they were losing wickets. And I think they lost all four wickets in something like five or six overs, or maybe less. It was some Test match. I would say one of the best Tests I watched, I played and I witnessed.”