Tendulkar-Steyn face-off is riveting
There are occasions when words can fail you. The present Test series, more so a few passages during the third Test, were so sublime that each one of them could be worthy of a proper story. To show them in entire tapestry, detail, complexity isn't possible in a newspaper column. I can only say I have been privileged to watch and report on it.india Updated: Feb 10, 2011 14:03 IST
There are occasions when words can fail you. The present Test series, more so a few passages during the third Test, were so sublime that each one of them could be worthy of a proper story. To show them in entire tapestry, detail, complexity isn't possible in a newspaper column. I can only say I have been privileged to watch and report on it.
Much has been heard and read on Dale Steyn's spell on the third day of the Newlands Test. Indeed. Very few spells in the recent past have been so precise accurate and fast.
Such a spell a fast bowler can only bowl in dreams --- or it could be the stuff of a video game. Those who are cricket buffs and technological nerds would love to store it for posterity, if they haven't done so already.
Tendulkar's genius, and the best of it, was needed to thwart the best fast bowler in the world. The cricketing gods did make the fantasy come true by ensuring that Steyn at his best was confronted by a little man who many are inclined to view as the best the game has ever seen. Steyn vs Tendulkar on that fateful third day would be remembered for a long, long time.
Both supermen had their moments in this contest. Steyn began by bowling a dream over and by the end Tendulkar had begun to lord over him. It's a batsman's game and so Tendulkar did end up winning most of the points in this titanic battle, but Steyn emerged from the contest with his reputation enhanced.
There is new respect for this man who could only have been overpowered by the genius of a Tendulkar.
For Tendulkar, this must mark as one of his most significant hundreds. It was a triumph of will, a belief that if he hung in there, he would slowly prevail. It was a blind passage of journey where Tendulkar survived as much by instinct as he did by skill. Riveting, hugely riveting stuff.
It was a heady climax to an astonishing Test series. Gautam Gambhir must be praised for ensuring India didn't lose an inch to the hosts. His was a truly gutsy effort. It wasn't possible to chase 300-plus total on the final day, so let's not get into that discussion. Let's just be grateful to have watched a truly, truly memorable Test encounter.
And let's not forget a cricketing giant. The best cricketer of the last decade. Jacques Kallis. He was simply magnificent. His hundred in the second dig was the innings of the match. A Tendulkar-Kallis rivalry beckons.