Sachin Tendulkar has been the man for big occasions while representing India in his illustrious international career that spanned for 24 years. There have been many instances where Sachin’s tons have come in a winning cause for the Indian team out of a record 100 international centuries that he has scored.
Meanwhile, it was on this very day in 2002 that the Master Blaster’s fine century helped India register a convincing win over Sri Lanka and book a Natwest tri-series final berth against hosts England.
When Sachin Tendulkar’s century helped India qualify for the tri-series final
India faced Sri Lanka in Bristol and Sourav Ganguly won the toss and elected to bat first. Despite being reduced to 73/2, Sachin and Dinesh Mongia added 99 runs for the third wicket before the latter was dismissed. The Men in Blue then lost Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh in quick succession before Mohammad Kaif joined Tendulkar in the middle to steady the Indian ship.
Once the Little Master was well set, he went after the lethal Sri Lankan bowling line-up and successfully breached three figures. Meanwhile, it was also his 33rd ton in One Day Internationals. He was eventually dismissed in the 47th over and he went back scoring 113 runs off 102 balls, including 12 fours and a six at a strike rate of 110.78. The splendid knock helped India post a mammoth total of 304.
In reply, Sri Lanka lost their captain Sanath Jayasuriya for just five runs before Kumar Sangakkara and Marvan Atapattu played counter-attacking knocks adding 85 runs for the second wicket.
Sangakkara seemed unstoppable before being stumped by Rahul Dravid off Harbhajan Singh for a superb 66 runs off 47 deliveries. His wicket was arguably the turning point of the contest. Wickets of Atapattu and Mahela Jayawardene meant that the Lankans sunk into further trouble in their stiff run chase and all they could do after that was to play the catch-up game.
While there were contributions from Chamara Silva (30) and Thilan Samaraweera (15), they were just not enough as the Indian bowlers kept adding pressure as a result of which Sri Lanka were bundled out for 241 in the 45th over. Thus, with an emphatic 63-run victory, India qualified for the finals of the Natwest tri-series 2002 to set up a clash against Nasser Hussain & Co, Sachin Tendulkar was adjudged the Player of the Match for his outstanding century.