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Jan 24, 2008 at 05:09pm IST

Why a Sachin ton inspires cricket | Yeh dil maange more

Thirty-nine and counting. Sachin Tendulkar has been the subject of many debates, about whether he should retire or not, if he was losing his touch, or if he should also be clubbed with those who have outlived their utility.

All of those debates were dumped in the trash as Adelaide rose as one to salute the best in the business.

The notable thing about Tendulkar’s 39th Test hundred was how he looked to be in a zone of his own. Not one other batsman looked half as much in command as him, which was a bit surprising on what is considered, at least as of now, to be a batting strip.

HE'S AT IT AGAIN: Not one other batsman looks half as much in command as Sachin at the moment.

None of these things bothered Tendulkar, as he carved up his hundred in style. Beginning with a cracking straight drive, he played all the shots in his armoury. When he does that, the opposition can only watch and fetch the ball.

This knock was important in many ways. India, after the famous win at Perth, are keen to draw level in the series, so it is vital to have a big score to defend in the first innings.

It essentially meant that the batting had to click and in view of the fact that they went in with five bowlers, it was important that one of the top order players, or two, had to come to the party.

On a personal front, this will almost certainly be Tendulkar’s last Test on Australian soil, and he wanted to leave a mark. While that applies to several other players, Tendulkar is on a plateau of his own, and by his own standards, it had to be a big one.

The knock also held the innings together, which was vital after Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly were sent back by the bowlers.

What threatened to look like a moderate target for the Aussies was made a much more challenging one, thanks to Tendulkar and his fine partnership with VVS Laxman.

Those 126 runs, for the fifth wicket, displayed some of the best batting seen on the series.

Though Tendulkar did play an odd miscued shot, especially against the spin of Brad Hogg, his focus on the job was complete, and India grew as he did, as it always has.

Well begun is half done, as they say, but at this moment its time to sit back and savour the moment. Players like this come once in a lifetime, and we are surely lucky that we share our time with Sachin Tendulkar.

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