Good to see Sachin Tendulkar making Test runs again, in Chennai against Australia, wasn’t it?
Report by Telegraph
Around the world ‘government’ seems to have become another name for ‘kleptocracy’, and archbishops can no longer be trusted, but Tendulkar keeps on batting — in his 24th year of Test cricket — as a sign of enduring quality.
In the four Tests against England before Christmas his hunger was evident but no footwork. In more than a year he had made one Test fifty.
But from the first ball he faced in Chennai he was back to something close to his old self, placing his front foot across to a wide ball from James Pattinson and driving it square for four.
Tendulkar steered his second ball to third man for four more, and glanced the fourth to the boundary again: 12 runs off four balls, as many as he got in whole Tests against England.
Soon he was playing the ball back where it came from, or between the bowler and mid-on, without any gap between bat and pad. It was a crisis too, as India were 12 for two in reply to Australia’s 380 when Tendulkar went in.
He took the lead in turning the tide in his partnerships with Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli, and paved the way for MS Dhoni to run amok with the highest score by an Indian wicketkeeper, 224, which buried Australia.
Tendulkar was bowled before he could reach his 101st international century by a fine offbreak, as good as the one with which Michael Vaughan surprised him a decade ago in a Trent Bridge Test. But his 81 had set his country on course and kept him in the side.
By the end of this series he will have played 198 Tests. Just as he was the first to score 200 in a one-day international, Tendulkar will surely be first to play 200 Tests.
India’s schedule after the Champions Trophy in June is not confirmed, but a two-Test series against Zimbabwe can be arranged if nothing else.
In the field too Tendulkar contributed, which was seldom the case in the series against England.
He once chased back from point towards the third man boundary and did a diving stop to save a run, rising rather flushed and pleased with this new antic in his 40th year.
The proof that he was back came in his second innings. He drove the first two balls he received from Nathan Lyon, who had got him in his first innings, over long-on for six.
For about half of the cricket followers in the world, certainly in India, Tendulkar has been a permanent fixture in the Indian Test side for half of their lives. His great contemporaries have passed on, like Brian Lara and Ricky Ponting.
There might not even be great Test batsmen in future if everyone grows up playing 20-over cricket and trying a shot a ball. But for a while longer the Old Master can be admired.