Mumbai: It was the first of his 100 international hundreds and it came on this day. So whenever the annals of Indian cricket will be updated, August 14 will have a prominent place in it. After all it was on very day that the iconic Sachin Tendulkar got the first of 100 centuries. And in spite of getting 99 more in his career, Sachin Tendulkar will always have fond memories of his first one.
Tendulkar made an unbeaten 119 against England at the Old Trafford in Manchester, August 14, 1990. His knock in the second innings emerged as the biggest talking point from the Test. Chasing 408 for victory, India were down in the dumps at 183/6, when Tendulkar showed superb composure as a teenager and exhibited his repertoire of exquisite drives on the off-side against English pacers.
Tendulkar helped India draw the match and the ‘Master Blaster’ was just 17 when he hit that magnificent knock. He was the third-youngest batsman ever to register a Test century.
The rest is history as the Mumbai batting masterclass went on to become a ‘demigod’ in India and arguably the greatest batsman to have played the game since Don Bradman.
Tendulkar, who retired from international cricket in 2013, scored 15,921 and 18,426 runs respectively in 200 Tests and 463 ODIs he played for India.
Asked about that special first Tendulkar said it seemed like yesterday.
“I scored that 100 August 14 and next day was our Independence Day, so it was special. The headline was different and that hundred at least kept the series alive till next Test at the Oval,” Tendulkar said.
So what exactly was the feeling, apart from the pure joy of achieving the milestone?
“The art of saving a Test match was a new experience for me,” Tendulkar said. He added that he knew he could save a game when he batted with a ‘bloodied nose’ and a blood-soaked jersey after being hit by Waqar Younis.
“In Sialkot where I got hit and scored 57, we saved that Test match, too, from 38 for four. Waqar’s bouncer and playing through pain defined me. After those kind of hits you are either stronger or you are nowhere to be seen,” Tendulkar stated.
Tendulkar in the first innings of that Manchester match was hit on the back of the head by Devon Malcolm. The latter was also one of the quickest in the world then.
“Devon and Waqar, during that phase, were easily the two quickest bowlers in the world bowling at 90mph. Yes, I didn’t call the phsyio as I didn’t want to show them that I am in pain. My pain threshold was fairly high. It’s okay to get hit. So what? You don’t show your pain to the bowler,” the legend said.
Back to the match, the shots that he remembers are the exquisite back-foot cover drives off Chris Lewis. “Lewis used to bowled sharp in-swing and throughout my career back-foot cover drive had been my favourite shot,” Tendulkar said.
“The bowler who was the best by far in that series was Angus Fraser. He had a beautiful late out-swing, high arm action, so the ball would bounce and move so late that you had to play at it. It was a case of showing patience and credit to Manoj (Prabhakar) that we had a 160-run stand,” Tendulkar added.
And any special anecdote that he still remembers?
“Well I was 17 and the ‘man of the match’ was presented with a bottle of champagne. Neither did I drink nor I I had reached the legal age for drinking. My senior teammates would tell me ‘what would you do with it’,” Tendulkar laughed.
But there is another thing that Tendulkar fondly remembers to this day. “Sanjay Manjrekar presented me a white shirt which was a gift for scoring a hundred. I was really touched,” he concluded.