New Delhi: Senior batsman Sachin Tendulkar says he would have "gladly traded" his knock of 175 against Australia in 2009 for an Indian victory even though he "certainly" rates it as one of the very best in his glorious ODI career. Chasing 351 runs in the fifth of the seven-match ODI series at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad, Tendulkar fell awfully close to pulling off an unlikely win with an incredible innings.
"It was certainly one of my best innings, but I would have gladly traded those 175 runs for a victory," Tendulkar said about the match which India lost by three runs. He scored those runs off 141 balls and smashed 19 fours and four sixes. Tendulkar completed 17,000 runs in ODIs during the course of that innings.
"It was one of those days when nothing seemed to be out of place. I was able to execute my strokes well. Our middle order failed, but Suresh Raina batted fluently. We had a good partnership of 137. Suresh was caught behind at 299 in the 43rd over. Harbhajan Singh fell soon after, to make it 300 for 6, but I believed we were very much in control. It was a question of hanging in there, running well and ensuring that bad balls were dealt with harshly," he said.
"We were only 19 away when I tried to lift (Clint) McKay over short fine-leg, only to be caught by (Nathan) Hauritz. It was a huge disappointment. The lower order tried hard, but more wickets fell, and we fell short by three runs," Tendulkar wrote in a piece for BCCI's official website. .
Tendulkar mentioned about the comparisons made between that knock and his back-to-back hundreds against the same opponent in Sharjah back in 1998.
"I have been asked on a few occasions to compare the 175 with the back-to-back hundreds against the same team at Sharjah in 1998. I don't think a comparison can be made. The expectations were way higher at the final stages of the tri-series in Sharjah. The Hyderabad hundred was scored in the middle of a bilateral series, and hence the circumstances were very different, physically and even mentally."
The pressure was certainly their on that November evening as well as the series was tied at 2-2 going into the fifth ODI.
"The seven-match series against Australia was even when we took the field for the crucial fifth game at Hyderabad. The winner would take a 3-2 lead, and the loser would be under tremendous pressure before the last two matches," Tendulkar said. The stadium in Uppal, which was back then a newly-built one, came in for praise from Tendulkar. .
"I had pleasant memories of the Lal Bahadur Stadium in Hyderabad. It was the venue where I had scored 186 against New Zealand in 1999-00. The new Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium has a much better facility. The ground was well-maintained, and the arrangements excellent for players and spectators. Of course, we weren't thinking about all that when Australia went on the offensive after winning the toss and electing to bat. Openers Shane Watson and Shaun Marsh put on 145 at a run a ball, and the middle order continued with the attack. When they finished with 350/4, not many gave us a chance," Tendulkar said.
Tendulkar almost chased the target on his own but, with just 19 runs short, he got out and the rest choked, falling short by three runs with two balls still to go.
"One of the good things about chasing a big total is that there is no ambiguity regarding the strategy you have to adopt. We knew we had to go for it from the outset and play strokes. I felt that I wasn't timing the ball well, and went in for a change of bat. I shifted to a brand new willow, and that changed things. Australia had a decent bowling line-up comprising four pacemen in Ben Hilftenhaus, Doug Bollinger, Clint McKay and Shane Watson. Nathan Hauritz was their main spinner, with the likes of Adam Voges chipping in with his left-arm spin. Mike Hussey also sent down a few overs that evening."
Which is your favorite Sachin Tendulkar innings?