On this day: Sachin Tendulkar’s masterful 155 in Chennai steals the show
On 9th March, legendary Sachin Tendulkar delivered one of his best performances in Tests. His sublime knock of 155 helped India turn the game around against Australia and eventually win it by 179 runs in Chennai. This game in 1998 also witnessed one of the fiercest players’ rivalries in the game as two of cricket’s greatest-ever – Tendulkar and Shane Warne – were up against each other. The series was built up as a Tendulkar vs Warne battle and the battle was indeed a fascinating one.
A mouth-watering encounter
Warne was bowling to Tendulkar in India for the first time and won the first round of the battle by dismissing the India legend for just 4 in the first innings of the Chennai Test. As often was the case with Team India in the 1990s, Tendulkar’s failure meant they were behind in the game. After bowling out India for just 257, Australia scored 328 to take a handy lead of 71 runs at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. All eyes were on the second innings as the cricketing world eagerly waited for Tendulkar’s response after the failure in the first innings.
The India batting mainstay was also making sure to be fully prepared for the second innings. Tendulkar had gone up to Ravi Shastri asking for a word of advice, asking the former India all-rounder on how to deal with the Australia leg-spinner should he go round the wicket to exploit the rough. Tendulkar had also spent four days in the nets facing former Indian leg-spinner Laxman Sivaramakrishnan. Expecting Warne to come around the wicket, Tendulkar had asked Sivaramakrishnan to do the same and bowl on the footmarks.
Tendulkar smashes Warne away
The preparation was done and it was now time to deliver. When Tendulkar came out to bat, Australia’s lead was wiped out and India were in a good position at 115 for 2. The platform was set for Tendulkar and he made the most of it. The right-handed batsman launched a stunning assault on the Australians. The hopeless visitors could only watch on in despair as the Mumbaikar demolished the dangerous Warne. The leg-spinner looked clueless as Tendulkar tonked him to all parts of the ground.
Tendulkar faced 191 deliveries and slammed 155 runs with the help of 14 fours and two sixes to help India post 418 for 4 (declared). Chasing an improbable target of 348 against the spirited hosts, the strong Australian batting line-up eventually crumbled under pressure. The visitors were all out for just 168. Tendulkar was declared man of the match for his knock that kickstarted one of the most riveting rivalries in international cricket.