5 spectacular fourth innings centuries that went in vain
Sometimes in cricket, the finest individual knocks come in a losing cause. Cricket can be cruel at times as every cricketer representing his nation gives his all to make sure his team ends up on the winning side. There is heartbreak and despair when your best efforts do not materialise into a victory but as lovers of the game we remember those efforts for the longest of times.
A fighting hundred against all odds is something we always cherish as cricket fans. Who could forget the heartbreak in Chennai or Adelaide! Even though these cricketers couldn’t really achieve the desired results for their respective sides, they surely deserve all the praise for their skills, temperament and for all the entertainment they provided thanks to their masterful batting.
We celebrate 5 such knocks in the final innings of a test match that captivated the minds of the people even though their respective teams couldn't register a win eventually.
#1 Sachin Tendulkar 136: India vs Pakistan, 1st Test, Chennai, 1999
It was a case of so near and yet so far for India in one of the most talked about test matches of all time. This is one match every Indian cricket fan will remember! They will remember it for the heartbreak but in equal measure for the sheer brilliance of the great man, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, who batted through pain and almost took India to a memorable win only to be denied at the brink by their arch rivals Pakistan.
After an evenly contested first innings, India were set a target of 271 to win, by Pakistan. India were rocked early by Waqar Younis and Sachin came into bat when the score was a sorry-looking 6/2. He was unbeaten on 20 at the end of Day 3 and began Day 4 with the unflinching goal of winning the game for India. India, however, sank to 86/5 at lunch.
It was now the battle of one man against a Pakistani attack oozing with quality, with the likes of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, and Saqlain Mushtaq in their ranks. Sachin eked out a crucial partnership with Nayan Mongia and India started inching closer to the target. Tendulkar suffered from severe bouts of back spasms when he reached his 80s but he kept battling through the pain to bring up his century.
He picked Saqlain for some special treatment and got some quick runs in the process. It was not just an innings studded with magical strokes but also one filled with grit and steel. After Mongia (52) fell to a bad shot, Tendulkar started building a partnership with Sunil Joshi.
When India were at a sniffing distance of victory with just 17 runs needed, Tendulkar in his bid to clear the ropes, lofted the wily Saqlain and got a leading edge to a doosra delivery. The ball went high up in the air and was taken safely by Wasim Akram at covers. The game slipped out of India's pockets that very moment as the Pakistani bowling was too hot to handle for the Indian tail and Pakistan went on to win the match by 12 runs.