Sachin Tendulkar was Team India’s mainstay for over two decades. He dug India out from improbable positions and has also witnessed India slumping to new lows among others during his stint. Still considered by many as the best batsman in the world, Tendulkar played a blinder On November 5, 2009 at Hyderabad. Tendulkar fell for 175 off 141 in an ODI and believe it or not, it was not enough to take India to a win.
When Herschelle Gibbs scored 175 off 111, chasing 435 against Australia in 2006, it resulted in South Africa successfully chasing down the highest ever ODI target. But Tendulkar’s efforts went in vain, when India were chasing (just) 351. The match took us back to the late 90s and early 2000s, when Tendulkar’s wicket was of utmost importance. If the opposition got rid of Tendulkar, they’d more often than not win it, regardless of the situation of the match. The stats prove this fact too. Tendulkar averaged 56.63 in matches India won and dropped to 33.25 in matches they lost. In short, if Tendulkar did well, India won. If he didn’t, India struggled.
Australia post mammoth score
The 7-match series between India and Australia were level at 2-2. A win for both sides was going to be crucial as it would give them a lead in the series. Australia captain Ricky Ponting won the toss and elected to bat. They got off to a magnificent start thanks to Shane Watson and Shaun Marsh. They put on 145 for the first wicket as Watson fell for 93. Marsh however went on to score his maiden ODI century, eventually getting out for run-a-ball 112. Ponting (45), Cameron White (57) and Michael Hussey (31*) ensured Australia got to 350-4. Every Indian bowler barring Harbhajan Singh (1-44 in 10) took a severe beating.
Safe to say, India had a huge task in their hands.
India got off to a brisk start, thanks to Virender Sehwag and Tendulkar. They brought up their fifty-run stand in the eighth over and looked set to add many more to their tally. Doug Bollinger, who had dropped Sehwag earlier in his innings did not drop him again, pouncing on to the catch at short fine-leg. Sehwag went for 38 off 30 and India lost 3 more wickets by the time the innings reached the half-way stage – Gautam gambhir (8), Yuvraj Singh (9) and MS Dhoni (6), but Tendulkar stood firm at the other end. India were 169-4, needing a further 182 runs at 7.28 runs per over in the final quarter of the match. It was a herculean task, but by no stretch of imagination impossible.
In came Raina…
Tendulkar found an able partner in Suresh Raina. Tendukar in the meantime had reached his 45th ODI century and looked determined to stir India home. Raina was dropped when he was on 22 by Ponting at short extra-cover off Nathan Haurutz and Raina made the fielding team pay by smashing the bowler for a six in the very next delivery.
The partnership began to gain momentum, as there was a boundary in almost every over after that. Raina and Tendulkar rotated the strike well when the boundary were hard to come. Tendulkar brought up his 150 off 122 balls and a short while after that, Raina brought up his fifty off 53 deliveries. But in the very next over, Raina as dismissed for 59. Like many times in his career, a short delivery from Watson did him in. The Tendulkar-Raina partnership was broken after they had put on 137 for the fifth wicket, which kept India in the hunt. However, victory was still far away and a cramping Tendulkar needed support from the other end once again.
Harbhajan lasted just 2 deliveries, but Ravindra Jadeja hung around for a bit. But Tendulkar looking to scoop the ball over short fine-leg, ending up giving catch to the man stationed there. India were 19 away from a famous victory and had 17 balls in which to get them. The wicket silenced the crowd but applauded the Little Master off the field for 175 off 141.
Jadeja was run out for 23, 3 deliveries later, which turned out to the final nail in the coffin. However, the match went into the final over. Munaf Patel and Praveen Kumar were the last two men. India needed 8. Praveen had hit Bollinger over long on in the previous over. Watson was to bowl the final over. Another such hit from Praveen would take India within touching distance.
After taking 3 singles from the first 3 deliveries, Praveen attempted 2 in the fourth delivery. He completed one run, but failed to reach the crease, while attempting to complete the second run. With that, Australia had nicked the match by 3 runs.
Yet another special innings from Tendulkar, ended in a loss for India. Perhaps as heartbreaking as Chennai, 1999.
What happened next?
Australia eased past India by 6 wickets in the sixth ODI and the final match at Mumbai was abandoned without a ball being bowled. Australia as a result won the series 4-2.
Australia 350-4 in 50 overs (Shaun Marsh 112, Shane Watson 93; Praveen Kumar 2-68, Harbhajan Singh 1-44) beat India (Sachin Tendulkar 175, Suresh Raina 59; Shane Watson 3-47, Clint McKay 3-59) by 3 runs.
Player of the match: Sachin Tendulkar