Looking back at Sachin Tendulkar's ethereal 153 against Australia at Adelaide
The sun came out to welcome him, the Australian crowd was on its feet to applaud his genius, and the bowlers didn't know what else they could do. In a master class that bewitched all those who watched him bat, Sachin Tendulkar carved out a sublime hundred at the Adelaide Oval against Australia in the year 2008.
Brett Lee was driven with finesse down the ground, Mitchell Johnson was dispatched gloriously past cover, Brad Hogg was cut, pulled and swept to the boundary. In their desperation to try and dislodge him, the Aussies even made Michael Clarke roll his arm over, but to no avail. Tendulkar stood there, like a monk, consumed in his work.
The most wonderful part of this gem from Tendulkar was the way he adapted. When he defended, he was solid, and when he went on the charge, he was ruthless. It was a classic display of sublime batsmanship from arguably the finest willow-wielder that the game of cricket has ever seen.
Most importantly, he did not give a chance to the opposition to get back into the game. It was Tendulkar at his very best, and all that the Australians could do was gape in awe at his mastery.
Tendulkar has played several fantastic innings in Australia. It was his magnificent 114 at Perth in 1992 that announced the arrival of a child prodigy. He took batting to a whole new dimension when he refused to play a single cover drive through the off side on his way to an ethereal 241 at the Sydney Cricket ground.
But this knock at Adelaide is right up there with the very best. The way Tendulkar adapted and thrived under difficult circumstances makes it very very special.
Tendulkar was into his 19th year of international cricket when he walked out to bat in that match, but he still gave the impression of a child who was eager to hit the ball, a child who was never tired of toying with the opposition. That is the hallmark of great players: they can even keep Father Time at bay, for they are made of a mental framework inaccessible to the lesser mortals of the sport.
11 years have passed since this magnificent knock, but the memory of each shot in it still resonates strongly in our memories. That's just what a Tendulkar special can do - it can remain ethereal and eternal.