Sachin at 50: Each of Tendulkar's 100 international hundreds - Part 4
The great Sachin Tendulkar turns 50 today, and on this momentous occasion, we bring you some detail of the one statistic that became synonymous with his career.
On the occasion of Sachin Tendulkar's 50th birthday, we take a look at his 100 centuries for India spanning from 1990 to 2012. We will be turning back the clock and celebrating Tendulkar’s centuries in five segments – Part 1: 1990-1995, Part 2: 1996-1998, Part 3 1999-2001, Part 4: 2002-2007, and Part 5: 2008-2012.
Read Part 3 here
Part 4: 2002-2007
No 59: 176 vs Zimbabwe, Nagpur, February 21-25, 2002 (Test #28)
After touring India for a three-Test series in 2000, Zimbabwe returned for two Tests in 2002.
After Zimbabwe scored 287 in the first innings of the first Test, India responded with a mammoth 570/7 declared, which gave them a lead of 283 runs. While Shiv Sunder Das and Sanjay Bangar contributed centuries, it was Tendulkar who was India's top-scorer. Despite looking a tad troubled by left-arm spinner Ray Price, he scored 176 off 316 balls before being eventually dismissed by Price.
The knock allowed India to clinch victory by an innings and 101 runs, with Anil Kumble winning the Player of the Match award for match figures of 9/145.
No 60: 117 vs West Indies, Port of Spain, April 19-23, 2002 (Test #29)
Tendulkar's 117 against West Indies in Trinidad was his 29th Test hundred, drawing him level with the legendary Sir Don Bradman. After scoring 79 in the drawn Test in Guyana — the first of the four-match series — the hundred proved pivotal in India clinching a 37-run victory. Laxman's contribution was equally crucial. He hit an unbeaten 69 in the first innings and then made 74 in a total of 218 in the second innings.
The series ended disappointingly for Tendulkar though. He was out for 0 and 8 in Barbados and registered another duck in the final Test at St John's in Antigua.
No 61: 105* vs England, Chester-le-Street, July 4, 2002 (ODI #32)
The 2002 NatWest Series was one of the most iconic triumphs for India in ODI cricket. India began that tournament with a loss against hosts England before defeating Sri Lanka. In their fourth game, they faced England again, and Tendulkar delivered an unbeaten ton.
Sourav Ganguly won the toss and opted to bat first but was dismissed for a duck off the first ball of the match. Tendulkar walked to the crease at No 4 with India’s score being 48/2. The visitors needed partnerships and they got just that as the Master Blaster settled in.
Tendulkar first put on a 169-run stand for the fourth wicket with Rahul Dravid (82 off 117), before adding 64 runs with Yuvraj Singh (40* off 19). He remained not out on 105 off 108, with eight fours and a six, as India finished with 285/4.
However, there was no result in the contest. With England at 53/1 in 12.3 overs, rain took over and there was no play thereafter.
No 62: 113 vs Sri Lanka, Bristol, July 11, 2002 (ODI #33)
This was Tendulkar’s second century in the famous NatWest Series of 2002.
Two days before that unforgettable final (clinched by Mohammad Kaif), India faced Sri Lanka in a dead rubber. Opting to bat first, Tendulkar came to the crease at No 4 when the score was 73/2 in the 12th over. The right-hander was at his dominant best and batted till the 47th over yet again.
Tendulkar treated the Bristol crowd to his trademark drives and punches to score a 102-ball 113, with 12 fours and a six. His effort powered India to a formidable total of 304 as Ashish Nehra was the last batter to be dismissed off the final ball of the innings.
In reply, Sri Lanka were in a promising position at 96/1 in the 13th over as Marvan Atapattu (53) and Kumar Sangakkara (66) put up a fight. But eventually, they were bowled out for 241 in 44.1 overs as the Indians fought back strongly.
No 63: 193 vs England, Leeds, August 22-26, 2002 (Test #30)
After a period in the 1990s when Indian cricket was notorious for its poor overseas record, the Test at Headingley in Leeds was critical in bettering the team's reputation. Sourav Ganguly took the bold call of batting first in seamer-friendly conditions, and the batting department stepped up to the plate.
The platform was set by Sanjay Bangar and Rahul Dravid, whose 177-run partnership ensured that the middle-order was shielded from facing the new ball in tough conditions. By the time Tendulkar came out to bat at No 4, India were in a comfortable position. And Tendulkar capitalised on the good work of the top-order, scoring a majestic 193 in 330 balls. He stitched together a 150-run stand with Dravid and a 249-run partnership with Ganguly.
With Dravid, Tendulkar and Ganguly scoring centuries, India racked up a mammoth total of 628/8 declared. The England batters were not up to the task. They were out for 273 in their first innings and for 309 while following on to hand the visitors victory by an innings and 46 runs.
No 64: 176 vs West Indies, Kolkata, October 30-November 3, 2002 (Test #31)
The Eden Gardens in Kolkata is one of India's most iconic Test venues, and a number of players -- notably Mohammad Azharuddin and VVS Laxman -- enjoy enviable records there. Tendulkar, though, didn't quite score runs as prolifically at the venue as he did in other places. In 13 Tests at Eden Gardens, he aggregated 872 runs at 45.89.
It took him 11 innings to score his first century at the venue. This came against West Indies in 2002. After the visitors had gained a 139-run first-innings lead, it became imperative for India to produce a solid reply. They did so courtesy Tendulkar, who scored 176 off 298 balls with 26 fours. Laxman, who batted like an emperor at Eden Gardens, was the other centurion in India's innings as they finished on 471/8 to draw the Test.
No 65: 152 vs Namibia, Pietermaritzburg, February 23, 2003 (ODI #34)
The 2003 ODI World Cup was a memorable tournament for India as they got to the final. Tendulkar was in fine form throughout and finished as the highest run-scorer in the tournament with 673 runs in 11 games at an average of 61.18.
Among his big scores was a 52 in India’s opener against Netherlands, 81 against Zimbabwe, 50 against England, 98 against Pakistan, 97 against Sri Lanka, and 83 against Kenya.
The only century that Tendulkar scored in the 2003 ODI World Cup was versus Namibia in India’s fourth game.
Put in to bat first, India lost the wicket of Virender Sehwag (24) in the eight over before Tendulkar and skipper Sourav Ganguly got together at the crease. The duo was dominant again and added a 244-run partnership for the second wicket. While Ganguly remained unbeaten on 112 off 119, Tendulkar smashed a 151-ball 152 with 18 fours, which ended up being his highest-ever World Cup score.
India finished 311/2 and bowled out Namibia for just 130 runs in 42.3 overs.
No 66: 100 vs Australia, Gwalior, October 26, 2003 (ODI #35)
India were hosting Australia and New Zealand in a tri-series and in the second game against the Aussies, Tendulkar cracked a ton to help his team win by 37 runs.
Opting to bat first, Tendulkar and VVS Laxman (102 off 134) stitched together a 190-run partnership for the second wicket after Virender Sehwag fell for a duck in the first over. Tendulkar scored 100 off 119 with nine fours and a six as India finished with 283/5.
In reply, got a 132-run opening stand thanks to Adam Gilchrist (83) and Matthew Hayden (47) but none of the other batters could dig in and they were restricted to 246/9 in 50 overs.
No 67: 102 vs New Zealand, Hyderabad, November 15, 2003 (ODI #36)
In the same tri-series, India had to defeat New Zealand in order to qualify for the final and they did so in style.
Electing to bat first again, India rode on centuries from Virender Sehwag and Tendulkar to post a mammoth total of 353/5. The two right-handers were in command and added a 182-run stand for the first wicket. Rahul Dravid then smashed a 22-ball 50* at No 5, with five fours and three sixes.
Tendulkar began slowly but picked up pace in style to score a 91-ball 102, with 12 fours and a six. But it was Sehwag who ended up winning the player of the match award for his 130 off 134, with 15 fours and two sixes.
New Zealand were well behind in the chase throughout and were bowled out for 208 in 47 overs.
No 68: 241* vs Australia, Sydney, January 2-6, 2004 (Test #32)
Lean patches were rare in Tendulkar's career. But he hit a trough towards the end of 2003, going 13 innings without a three-figure score. The pressure was all the more given that India were in Australia, whose bowlers stifled him with a disciplined line outside off-stump. As ever, Tendulkar stamped his class when he scored an unbeaten 241 in the New Year Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The manner in which Tendulkar went about crafting his innings is well-documented. He exhibited tremendous patience and self-restraint, avoiding the expansive cover drive all the way through his innings. Instead, he made the Australian bowlers come to him and picked off runs on the leg side whenever the line was straighter. At the time, this was his highest score in his Test career.
India ended up declaring their first innings on 705/7, their highest total in Australia till date. It enhanced India's chances of a then unprecedented Test series win in Australia, but the hosts held on in the fourth innings to secure a drawn series.
No 69: 194* vs Pakistan, Multan, March 28-April 1, 2004 (Test #33)
In the very next Test after his double hundred versus Australia, Tendulkar made 194*. This was three months later, against Pakistan in Pakistan, significant because India were touring the neighbouring country for a Test series after 15 years. It also meant that Tendulkar was returning to the country where his international career began.
The series opener was lit up by Virender Sehwag, whose breathtaking strokeplay wowed the crowd in Multan. Sehwag became the first Indian batter to score a Test triple ton, but Tendulkar also played his part in a memorable victory -- India's first-ever on Pakistani soil.
The Test is remembered for stand-in skipper Rahul Dravid's controversial declaration with Tendulkar stranded on 194*. Six runs shy of a double century, Tendulkar probably needed another over or two to reach the milestone, but Dravid decided to declare the Indian innings shortly after tea on Day 2. It caused a bit of friction between the two players, with Tendulkar expressing his disappointment and surprise at the timing of the declaration at the end of the day's play.
No 70: 141 vs Pakistan, Rawalpindi, March 16, 2004 (ODI #37)
There was incredible buzz as India set off on a full-fledged tour of Pakistan. In the tour match at the start, Tendulkar scored a 76 even as the visitors went on to lose by six wickets. But India bounced back and clinched the first ODI of the five-match series.
The second ODI was at Rawalpindi. Pakistan won the toss and opted to bat first, with Yasir Hameed (86) and Shahid Afridi (80) putting on a 138-run opening stand. The hosts went on to post a total of 329/6.
In reply, Tendulkar was brilliant as he slammed 141 runs off 135 deliveries, with 17 fours and a six. The Master Blaster put up a valiant fight but India kept losing wickets regularly and were eventually bowled out for 317 in 48.4 overs and lost by 12 runs.
However, it ended up being a memorable tour for India as they won the ODI series 3-2 and the Tests 2-1.
No 71: 248* vs Bangladesh, Dhaka, December 10-13, 2004 (Test #34)
A year that began with Tendulkar racking up scores of 241* and 194* finished with him hitting 248* -- his highest Test score -- against Bangladesh in Dhaka. The milestone came in his penultimate Test of the year, as India cruised to victory by an innings and 140 runs.
After Bangladesh were bundled out for 184 on the opening day of the Test, Tendulkar ensured that India would need to bat only once by making a colossal score. His double ton aside, Ganguly scored 71 as India scored 526 and took a 342-run first-innings lead. The hosts were bowled out for 202 in their second innings.
No 72: 123 vs Pakistan, Ahmedabad, April 12, 2005 (ODI #38)
After the aforementioned ton in Rawalpindi, Tendulkar went 13 months and 15 innings without a century in ODI cricket. He broke that patch with another splendid effort against Pakistan, who were touring India for three Tests and six ODIs.
In five of the six ODIs, Tendulkar registered single-digit scores. But in the fourth game, he scored 123 runs off 130 deliveries.
It was a 48-overs-a-side match, and India opted to bat first. Tendulkar was superb at the top of the order and struck 12 fours and two sixes in his knock. MS Dhoni (47) and Yuvraj Singh (35*) made key contributions as well as the hosts finished with a formidable total of 315/6.
However, Pakistan’s batting order fired in unison and they chased down the target off the last ball of the match – a boundary by skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq (60*).
No 73: 109 vs Sri Lanka, Delhi, December 10-14, 2005 (Test #35)
By scoring 109 against Sri Lanka at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground, Tendulkar went past the century tally of childhood idol Sunil Gavaskar. His 35th Test hundred also meant that he had scored more centuries than any batter in the history of Test cricket. While Jacques Kallis, Ricky Ponting, Kumar Sangakkara and Rahul Dravid also surpassed Gavaskar's mark of 34 centuries later, nobody could catch up with Tendulkar's eventual tally of 51 hundreds.
Tendulkar was able to cross the three-figure mark in this Test against a Sri Lankan attack comprising Chaminda Vaas, Dilhara Fernando and Muttiah Muralitharan, but he was far from his best during this period. The tennis elbow injury that surfaced in early 2005 took a heavy toll on him, even leading to doubts whether this was the end of the batting maestro's career.
No 74: 100 vs Pakistan, Peshawar, February 6, 2006 (ODI #39)
Another India tour of Pakistan and again, there were three Tests followed by five ODIs.
It was in the first ODI, which Pakistan won, that Tendulkar struck a ton (he got a 95 in the third ODI too).
Asked to bat first, India lost the wicket of Virender Sehwag in the second over but Tendulkar, Irfan Pathan (65) and MS Dhoni (68) dug in. The Master Blaster scored 100 off 113 balls, with 10 fours and a six, as India got all out in 49.4 overs after scoring 328 runs.
The target for Pakistan was reduced to 305 in 47 overs and they crossed the line off the last ball of the match. Salman Butt scored 101 at the top of the order while Shoaib Malik hit a 67-ball 90 at No 3 as the hosts finished with 311/7.
No 75: 141* vs West Indies, Kuala Lumpur, September 14, 2006 (ODI #40)
This was an important century in Tendulkar’s career, He had spent six months on the sidelines due to his tennis elbow injury (he had had surgery for it in 2005 too) and there were doubts in some quarters whether he would find his best again.
India, Australia and West Indies were competing in the DLF Cup in Kuala Lumpur.
Skipper Rahul Dravid won the toss and opted to bat first but was dismissed for 26. Tendulkar and Irfan Pathan (64) then added a 125-run stand for the second wicket, with the former striking 13 fours and five sixes in his brilliant knock of 141* off 148.
Unfortunately, though, Tendulkar’s effort went in vain as India’s total of 309/5 wasn’t enough. West Indies finished with 141/2 in 20 overs and won by 29 runs by D/L method.
No 76: 100* vs West Indies, Vadodara, January 31, 2007 (ODI #41)
West Indies toured India for a four-ODI series in January 2007, with the hosts emerging victorious 3-1. And in the last ODI, Tendulkar, at No 4, got a rather fortunate hundred.
Asked to bat first, India were in a decent position at 148/2 after 25 overs when Tendulkar came to the crease. Sourav Ganguly, at the top of the order, struck an 82-ball 68 and Rahul Dravid, at No 3, scored 78 off 109.
Tendulkar upped the tempo and went on to play an aggressive knock with 10 fours and a six. But he got lucky en route to his century as he was dropped in the 49th and 50th overs. With one over remaining, he needed 11 runs to complete his ton and he got there off the last ball of the innings to finish with 100* off 76.
India posted a mammoth total of 341/3 as MS Dhoni smashed an unbeaten 40 off 20 at No 5. West Indies were bowled out for 181 in 41.4 overs.
No 77: 101 vs Bangladesh, Chattogram, May 18-22, 2007 (Test #36)
Tendulkar's struggles post recovery from the tennis elbow are illustrated in him going 17 innings without a Test ton. His drought lasted through all of 2006 and the first few months of 2007. While Bangladesh were not the sternest of opponents, Tendulkar perhaps needed the confidence-booster of a century.
With India being reduced to 132/3 soon after Tendulkar came to the crease, he needed to put his head down and string a partnership together. He did so with Ganguly, adding 189 runs for the fourth wicket. Both Tendulkar and Ganguly made centuries as India scored 387/8 declared in their first innings.
It wasn't necessarily an innings of great quality, but it was of tremendous importance given the juncture that he was at.
No 78: 122* vs Bangladesh, Mirpur, May 25-27, 2007 (Test #37)
Having had to wait 15 months for his 36th Test ton, the 37th came swiftly. In the very next Test, Tendulkar capitalised on a middling Bangladesh attack to hit 122 off 226 balls. On a batting belter, the top three of Dinesh Karthik, Wasim Jaffer and Rahul Dravid also took full toll with impressive hundreds. It was a rare instance of each of the top four reaching the three-figure mark.
The outcome was a mammoth total of 610/3 declared after batting for 153 overs. Bangladesh were nowhere near competitive in response, getting skittled out for 118 and 253 to lose by an innings and 239 runs.