Arguably the best batsman in the world, Sachin Tendulkar, has achieved all there is to achieve on a cricket field. But on November 20, 2009, Tendulkar became the first and as it stands, the only batsman till date to score 30,000 international runs. He achieved this feat in the first Test at Ahmedabad in 2009-10, which was the last time Sri Lanka toured India before the 2017-18 season.
Tendulkar needed just 39 more runs to achieve this milestone going into the match. He got out for just 4 in the first innings, which meant he had to get 35 more runs in the second innings to become the first player on the planet to score 30,000 international runs.
Despite Tendulkar’s failure in the first innings, centuries from Rahul Dravid (177) and skipper MS Dhoni (110) helped India post a commendable 426 on the board. If you thought that was a good score, Sri Lanka piled on a massive 760-7 decl thanks to Mahela Jayawardene’s 275 and Prasanna Jayawardene’s unbeaten 154. Sri Lanka had taken a 334-run first innings lead and had a chance to register their first ever Test win in India. But with one and a half days left, it was still a good batting track.
The Indians once again made the best use of it. Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir got India off to a good start. Sehwag was dismissed moments after he scored a fifty. Dravid and Gambhir put on 88 for the second wicket before the former perished for 38. Rangana Herath had struck twice. Gambhir, however, kept going strong at the other end.
India still needed 165 runs more to avoid the innings defeat. However, night watchman Amit Mishra walked into bat ahead of Tendulkar with less than 5 overs remaining in the day. Mishra survived the day. Mishra batted with Gambhir for 10 more overs on Day 5 before Angelo Mathews dismissed him. Gambhir had moved into his 80s by then and was eyeing his seventh Test ton. Tendulkar then walked in at No. 5. India still had some work to do. They trailed by 125 runs.
Tendulkar’s wicket at that point was of utmost importance. We have seen many times India collapse, once Tendulkar was dismissed. Luckily for India, it had not happened in the first innings of the match.
Tendulkar was off the mark off the first delivery he faced from Muttiah Muralitharan. He struck his first four off the next over from Mathews and followed that up with a couple of boundaries in Muralitharan’s next over. He was going at a reasonably brisk pace. Gambhir meanwhile had moved into the 90s. Gambhir got to his century in the 66th over, while Tendulkar was unbeaten on 17 at that point – 18 away from his milestone.
Gambhir was eventually dismissed for 114, bit Tendulkar was still 4 runs away from his landmark. The match was more or less heading towards a draw at that point unless something dramatic happened. It was still a good surface to bat on but the spinners were more involved the Day 5 wicket had some rough patches outside the off/leg stumps. Sri Lanka did not take the new ball immediately as a result.
The new ball was taken in the 85th over and Chanaka Welegedara and Dhammika Prasad were immediately brought into the attack.
In the 89th over of the innings, Tendulkar clipped an inswinging ball from Welegedara to deep square leg for a single, which brought up 30,000 runs in international runs. Nobody has managed to get these many runs till date. Tendulkar was also the fastest to score 25,000 international runs, which he achieved in his 577th innings in an ODI against South Africa in 2006. Only Ricky Ponting, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Jacques Kallis have scored over 25,000 runs in international cricket.
Tendulkar then went on to slam his 45th Test ton, which helped India draw the match. Tendulkar played 4 more years of international cricket, ending his career with 34,357 international runs at 48.52, which included 100 centuries and 164 fifties.
India 426 (Rahul Dravid 177, MS Dhoni 110; Chanaka Welegedara 4-87, Muttiah Muralitharan 3-97) & 412-4 (Gautam Gambhir 114, Sachin Tendulkar 100*; Rangana Herath 2-97, Angelo Mathews 1-29) drew with Sri Lanka 760-7 decl (Mahela Jayawardene 275, Prasanna Jayawardene 154*; Zaheer Khan 2-109, Ishant Sharma 2-135)