It's a century of tons for Tendulkar

It's a century of tons for Tendulkar

It took a while, in fact a long while, to come. A total of 368 days had elapsed between Sachin Tendulkar’s 99th and 100th hundreds and the monumental landmark had begun to feel like a tease for his legions of fans and a massive psychological weight on his mind.

Sachin Tendulkar exults after scoring his 100th century against Bangladesh in Dhaka on Friday. His ton went in vain as India lost to the hosts by 5 wickets. AP

In the interim, the little man from Mumbai came close to the much-cherished mark on numerous occasions, before eventually breaking millions of hearts by losing his wicket. The wait might have been all the more frustrating for Tendulkar because 143 international hundreds were scored during the period across all the three formats of the game in the last one year, and 12 of them were scored by Indians—six by Virat Kohli, five by Rahul Dravid and one by Gautam Gambhir.

He had visited some fabled venues such as Lord’s, Melbourne Cricket Ground and the Eden Gardens in the last one year, but the hundred eluded him. But he wasn’t to be denied on Friday at the less glamorous surrounding of the Sher-e-Bangla stadium in Dhaka against Bangladesh. The moment finally came when he turned Shakib al Hasan behind square leg—another of his favoured shot— and jogged 22 yards for a single, and the celebration was a muted one. He looked at his bat for a prolonged moment before raising it heavenwards to mutter a few silent prayers.

The special hundred was also more solemn than flashy, the kind of knock in which the grimly determined Tendulkar races ahead of Tendulkar the stylist. The innings was an epitome of the batting philosophy that had caused his revival after an extended lean patch in 2007, all precise, economic movements in the crease at the expense of extravagance. But there were instances when Tendulkar took a Time Machine and travelled some 15 years back.

A massive six off Shakib over wide long-on, and a few delightful, patented drives through the covers, and a few cheeky taps for quick singles reminded that the adorable, impish boy in him had been put into sleep mode purposefully. However, this hundred, much against his record in the one-dayers, didn’t come in an Indian win as Bangladesh stole his thunder, scoring a mightly impressive five-wicket win to prevent Tendulkar from having a perfect night.

But that in no way will take the glow away from Tendulkar’s glorious achievement. The defeat might just be a causal reminder that Tendulkar, too, is a human, and perfection is not allowed for that tribe. 

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