On this day: Sachin Tendulkar wages a lone battle in Melbourne

The 1999-2000 tour of Australia was nothing short of a nightmare for the Indian team. Not only the Asian giants went down 3-0 in the 3-match Test series but the margin of defeat was also humongous. While most of the batters struggled to come to terms with the pace and bounce of the Aussie bowlers, it was once again India’s talisman who shone brightly. On 28th December 1999, Sachin Tendulkar completed his 22nd Test century in Melbourne.

Slater leads Australia’s charge

India won a crucial toss on the moist track of MCG but failed to make the most of it. They had reduced Australia to 28/2 in the first 10 overs but the Aussies fought back. Michael Slater solidified one end with his knock of 91. The partnership of Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist in the middle order proved to be a fatal one for India. The attacking duo added 145 runs for the 6th wicket. From 197/5, Australia managed to post 405. Javagal Srinath claimed 4/130 while Venkatesh Prasad took 3 wickets.

Tendulkar fights alone

The Indian top order capitulated in reply. Debutant Brett Lee provided the first breakthrough as he broke Sadagopan Ramesh’s defence. At 31/3, India were staring at a humongous lead. Tendulkar added 77 runs with Sourav Ganguly to arrest the fall. Losing partners at the other end, Tendulkar remained steadfast. He completed his 22nd Test century and received plaudits from his opposition for his charismatic knock. His 116 consisted of 9 boundaries and 1 six. India faltered for 238 all out.

Australia pile on the pressure

The home side tightened their grip on the game with another blazing batting effort. They promoted Adam Gilchrist to number four to score quick runs with the rain threat looming large. Gilchrist and Mark Waugh celebrated their fifties as Australia set India a target of 376 runs.

India’s chase was similar to their unsuccessful first innings. It was once again, Tendulkar (52) who shouldered the majority of the burden. Hrishikesh Kanitkar, on his Test debut, was impressive in the knock of 45. But India fell short by 180 runs and suffered a heavy defeat. For his incredible batting performance, Tendulkar was named the Player of the Match.