No matter how much one has seen Sachin Tendulkar bat for 25 seasons, one still wants more out of the man. Much has changed in the world since 1988-89 when Tendulkar made his India debut. He has perhaps been the only constant, playing with the same unbridled joy and passion.
Tendulkar, now in his 25th season, reached two milestones, first equalling Sunil Gavaskar’s record for the most first-class centuries (81). Tendulkar, though, has done it in fewer matches – 303 compared to Gavaskar’s 348.
When he moved from 100 to 104 with his trademark straight drive for four off S Sreesanth, he reached 25,000 runs in first-class cricket.
Although the spectators stayed away for the first two days, they arrived in large numbers on Friday, expecting Tendulkar to do something special.
And didn’t he give them something to cheer about!
Along the way, he showed the younger generation the value of a wicket. “We have to learn from Tendulkar,” Ajinkya Rahane, who shared a 73-run stand with Tendulkar for the fourth wicket, said.
Tendulkar, unconquered on 140, batted for five hours and 43 minutes and faced 197 balls. Not until the 185th delivery did he play a false stroke — an attempted drive off Ishwar Pandey that took the edge and raced to the vacant third man fence.
Though initially tempted to upper-cut Sreesanth, Tendulkar cut down risks, just punishing the loose deliveries.
He was at ease facing both pacers and spinners, taking a particular liking to Pragyan Ojha, against whom he had a strike rate in excess of 100. Who knows how the innings would have flourished had he not run out of partners?