CENTURION: India’s batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar Sunday became the first batsman in Test cricket’s history to score 50 centuries.
Tendulkar achieved the feat when he drove Dale Steyn through the covers for a single on the fourth day of the first Test against South Africa at Super Sport Park here Sunday. It took him 196 balls with 12 fours and one six.
His century could not have been better-timed as he and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni waged a battle to reach closer to South Africa’s massive first innings lead of 484 runs.
Tendulkar entered the nervous nineties, dancing down the track to send left-arm-spinner Paul Harris soaring over the stands for a straight six. He reached 95 with that shot and then spent some anxious moments, consuming 16 more balls to reach the three-figure mark. Dhoni even survived a run-out chance as he came half way down the track from the non-striker’s end to steal a single and turned back to save his wicket.
When the moment finally came, Tendulkar raised his arms in the sky and looked upwards to thank the almighty – and his late father – and the Indian stands broke into celebration.
Tendulkar, who reached the milestone in 175 Tests, is way ahead of others in the list of most number of centuries. Australian captain Ricky Ponting is a distant second with 39 centuries followed by South African Jacques Kallis who has 38 Test hundreds. The other Indians in the top 10 list is Sunil Gavaskar (34), at fourth position, and Rahul Dravid (31) at seventh place.
It was his 20th century away from home, the most on foreign soil by any batsman.
Tendulkar holds the record for most number of appearances in Tests (175) and ODIs as also the most number of runs in both versions. He has 17,598 runs in 442 ODIs at an average of 45.12. He has more than 14,500 runs, that include 59 half-centuries, in Tests at an average of 56.89.
Tendulkar has scored the most number of centuries against Australia (11), followed by Sri Lanka (9) and England (7). It was his sixth century against South Africa.
The Mumbaikar, who exploded on the international scene in 1989, has been going through a sensational run this year at 37 years of age.
He has amassed 1,532 runs in 13 Tests this year at a stupendous average of more than 85 runs per innings. Interestingly, Tendulkar’s seven centuries in 2010 are his most in a calendar year during his career spanning two decades. He has also notched up five fifties this year and has one more match to go against South Africa starting Dec 26.
He smashed successive Test centuries against South Africa in February and followed by it up with his first double century in a One-day international. He was named as the ICC player of the year and a spell as the No.1 batsmen on the ICC charts.(IANS)