Tendulkar relives match-saving Old Trafford ton 30 years on

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Tendulkar

On 14 August 1990, a fresh-faced teenager named Sachin Tendulkar gave the world a glimpse of his incredible ability.

A strokemaker like nobody that had come before, Tendulkar showed another side to his game with a gutsy match-saving hundred in Manchester that kept the series against England alive.

Tendulkar says the moment was made that much more special by the timing with India celebrating their Independence Day the very next day.

“I scored that 100 on 14 August and next day was our Independence Day, so it was special. The headline was different and that hundred at least kept the series alive till next Test at the Oval,” Tendulkar told PTI.

“The art of saving a Test match was a new experience for me.”

He may not have saved a Test with a ton yet, but at the age of 17 Tendulkar had experienced batting with a broken nose courtesy of a Waqar Younis bouncer.

“In Sialkot where I got hit and scored 57, we saved that Test match, too, from 38 for 4. Waqar’s bouncer and playing through pain defined me. After those kind of hits you are either stronger or you are nowhere to be seen.”

Tendulkar shows his mettle

Tendulkar learned some hard lessons from the first innings of that Test in Manchester when he was struck on the back of the head by a short ball from Devon Malcolm, however coming through the experience gave the little master confidence.

The future India captain didn’t call out the physio because he didn’t want to show the bowler any weakness. Fortunately, changes to cricket’s playing conditions have now taken that decision out of the hands of the batsman in the wake of the tragic death of Phil Hughes.  

“Devon and Waqar, during that phase, were easily the two quickest bowlers in the world bowling at 90 mph,” Tendulkar said.

“Yes, I didn’t call the phsyio as I didn’t want to show them that I am in pain. My pain threshold was fairly high. It’s okay to get hit. So what. You don’t show your pain to the bowler.”

Tendulkar credits boyhood coach Ramakant Achrekar with preparing him for any kind of surface, something he said served him well at Old Trafford.

“I was used to getting hit on my body from my days in Shivaji Park as Achrekar sir would make us play on that and it would have enormous wear and tear.

“The same pitch we played a match on one day and next day we were back for nets. So balls would just jump off length and hit my nose.

“In fact, I would just throw the ball up and take it on my body to absorb the pain.” Back to the match, the shots that he remembers are the exquisite backfoot cover drives off Chris Lewis deliveries that darted in.

“Lewis bowled sharp inswing and throughout my career, backfoot cover drive had been my favourite shot.

“The bowler who was the best by far in that series was Angus Fraser. He had a beautiful late outswing, high arm action, so ball would bounce and move so late that you had to play at it.” It was a case of showing patience and credit to Manoj that we had a 160-run stand,” he said.

Tendulkar recalls that he didn’t feel the match was safe until the very last over of the contest.

When asked the India legend said: “No way till the last over. We came together when we were six down (183/6), but me and Manoj together said ‘yeh hum kar sakte hain, match bacha lenge’ (we can save the match).

“Also England had attacking field as they could only win from that position.”

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