SK flashback: Sachin Tendulkar's unique first
18 years back in the Wills International Cup (now The Champions Trophy) quarter-final between India and Australia, Sachin Tendulkar did a unique double of scoring a hundred and taking four wickets in the same match.
A knockout game, with huge pressure, against a top-class Australian bowling attack, India needed a terrific performance to stay alive in the competition and Sachin Tendulkar was once again the star for India.
The year '1998'
Sachin had already proven to be a nemesis for Australia that year. He had made 3 hundreds against them, including terrific consecutive ones in Sharjah, later labelled as 'Desert Storm.' His scores against Australia in 1998 before this game read - 8, 100, 15, 80, 143 and 134.
He had an average of 88.71 against the Aussies in ODIs that year. In Tests, it shot up to 111.50. He already had Shane Warne dancing to his tunes after the famous 155* in Chennai that year.
His overall form was outstanding. In 28 ODIs, he averaged 64.48 with 7 hundreds and as many fifties. He had already compiled 1471 runs in the year before this quarter-final match against his favourite opponents.
Carrying on his spectacular form
If Australia came in with any notion of changing the trend for the year, Sachin had other ideas. Opening the innings with Sourav Ganguly, Sachin was in a rampant mood and dug into an Australian attack comprising of Michael Kasprowicz, Brendan Julian, Damien Fleming and Bradley Young.
He had lost Ganguly and Azhar by the time the score read 8, but in Dravid, he found the right ally. Dravid was cautious and ensured Tendulkar enjoyed the majority of the strike. Despite the scorecard reading 8/2, Tendulkar was least bothered.
Not one to waste his chances, Sachin was severe on a lacklustre Kasprowicz. Two outstanding back foot punches off him set the tone for another Sachin masterclass. Kasprowicz was taken to the cleaners as he went for 62 in his first seven overs.
Also read: Sachin Tendulkar – The atlas
Once Dravid departed for 48, Ajay Jadeja joined him in the middle. The pair outshone the previous stand as they put on 132 for the fourth wicket. Tendulkar by then had entered his zone, where he had often been right through the year.
He smoked the left arm tweaker, Bradley Young for consecutive sixes and raced past his half century in no time. He reached his hundred in just 94 balls. It was his 19th ODI century. He eventually ran himself out for 141, a marathon knock that lasted a mere 128 balls. It was decorated by 13 hits to the fence and 3 over it.
He had propelled India to a match-winning total of 307 in a crucial knockout match of the Wills Tournament. Chasing 300+ scores were almost non-existent in those days, and the whole of India had already started celebrating a victory.
Turning his arm over and bowling over the Aussies
But Sachin was not done yet. Just when Mark Waugh looked like he would make the 308 run chase look easy, Joshi dismissed him caught behind. Sachin then came into the attack and had the Aussies in all sorts of trouble with his variations.
He had Steve Waugh caught off his own bowling for seven. The reputed finisher, Michael Bevan was cleaned up after struggling to read his leg spinners.
Damien Martyn was next as he mistimed Sachin straight to Jadeja. By taking Bradley Young's wicket, his fourth, Sachin became the first player in ODI history to crack the double of a hundred and four wickets in the same game. His bowling figures read a spectacular 9.1-0-38-4 at an economy of 4.14.
Ladder to fame
Sachin was already the Golden Boy of Indian Cricket. He had broken into the national team at the age of 16 and despite a slow start, had shown ample promise. The bigger scores followed soon. By the time the 1996 World Cup arrived in the sub-continent, Sachin had reached a legendary status.
Starting off as a middle order batsman, a promotion to open the batting changed his career. He built a fearless reputation as an opener in an era where pace bowlers like Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Courtney Walsh, Curtley Ambrose, Glenn McGrath, Allan Donald, Fanie de Villiers, Chaminda Vaas and Chris Cairns thrived. There was no stopping Sachin in the mid-90s and then 1998 happened.
He had the Aussies, deemed an untouchable force in the late 1990s and early 2000s, at his mercy. Sachin went on to become a nightmare for one of the world's best bowlers, Shane Warne. The year had already catapulted Sachin to a new level in the eyes of cricket fans in India. But this performance, coming after the 'Desert Storm' made him the 'God of Cricket,' as he is still known today.
(Video courtesy: MrRobeLinda YouTube channel)