Arjun Raja is a NRIOL featured sports columnist. To read about Arjun Raja, please Know more.
Awesome, unreal, mind-boggling. These are some of the words that come to mind while attempting to describe the highest level of batsmanship possible as Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid scored 186 n.o. and 153 respectively in the second One-Day Match against New Zealand at Hyderabad.
Geoffery Boycott on the television said that those two innings were on par with the unsurpassed numero uno position of Mount Everest and he couldn't have been more correct.
On winning the toss, Tendulkar had no hesitation in batting first, more so after the hiding the Indian bowlers received in the previous match at Rajkot and he then set about returning the favour, so to speak as the Indians totalled a gigantic 376 for 2 in 50 overs.
Saurav Ganguly had the only bit of misfortune the Indians had on the day when he was run out most unfortunately as the ball deflected of the bowler's hand onto the wickets to find him short of the crease. The score was 10 in the 2nd over.
Rahul Dravid strode to the wicket and sent the first ball he received crashing into the fence at point. An ominous sign for NZ. He continued to find the gaps at will and reduced the pressure on Tendulkar who didn't have to play his usual over aggressive game in the first 15 overs .He bided his time and even allowed Dravid to overtake him after both of them had reached their hundreds.
At the end of over 15 India were 82, not a bad start by any means, but NZ would have still felt they had ... done well. All this changed as both players passed their fifties.
Once both Sachin and Rahul realised that the wicket and outfield was best suited to their style of play, they cashed in and how !!!
Boundaries flowed from their bats, The Kiwis lost the plot totally and soon a total of 300 was a certainty, anything above 350 looked a possibility as well.
Sachin completed his 24th century with a fabulous cover drive, Dravid followed soon afterwards completing his 7th century and at the beginning of the 41st over India were 243.
The last 10 overs was simply mayhem and accounted for 133 runs- An Indian record. Dravid accelerated with a series of brilliant improvised shots, including a flick of the wrist to send the ball over long-off for six of quickie Cairns.
He overtook his skipper and reached 144 to Sachin's 115 at one stage. A little while later he passed 150 for the first time in his career, a truly outstanding innings, the only blotch being a dropped caught and bowled by Vettorio when he was 77.
Dravid was dismissed on 153 of only 152 balls with 15 fours and 2 sixes(both of Cairns). His partnership with Tendulkar was a mammoth 331- A world record for any wicket in One-day Cricket and Rahul's second 300 plus partnership this year. To think that a certain Kishen Rungta who was Chairman of Selectors dropped him a year ago from the one-day team on the pretext that he was not suited to one-day cricket seems diabolical and criminal.
Once Dravid went, Tendulkar went berserk. He singled out Chris Drum for special treatment hammering 28 runs of his 9th over to take him from 156 to 184. Infact the dominance was so complete that it had become boring to watch. Akin to like picking candy from a toddler.
The only bit of interest as the last over sent down by Chris Cairns began was whether Sachin could pass the World Record of 194 in the name of Saeed Anwar but a couple of superb yorkers put paid to such hopes and Tendulkar had to be satisfied with 186 n.o, still good enough to be an Indian record beating Ganguly's 183 scored in the '99 World Cup.
The final total of 376 for 2 in 50 overs was an Indian record, incidentally it is the first time Sachin has carried his bat through the entire 50 overs and this in his 137th game as an opener. Better late than never and now that he knows he can do it, God help the bowlers around the world.
The cricket in the afternoon session was purely academic, nobody expected NZ to put up a fight after such a mauling and they folded up as predicted for just 202 for India to create another record-The highest margin of victory ever of 174 runs.
All in all a great exhibition of batting, more importantly cultured batting with Sachin getting another Man of the Match award.
But spare a thought for Rahul Dravid- the second time he has scored over 140 in a one day game and watched his partner walk away with the honours-surely another record.
India: 376 for 2 in 50 overs
Sachin Tendulkar 186 n.o. in 151 balls- 20 fours,3 sixes
Rahul Dravid 153 in 152 balls- 15 fours, 2 sixes.
New Zealand: 202 all out.
Styris 43, Parore 39.
Kumble 2 for 39, Prasad 2 for 38.
India won by 174 runs.
Man of the match - Sachin Tendulkar. Read more
- Arjun Raja in Dubai, UAEDecember 1999
The views of this column are the author's own, and do not necessarily represent the views of NRI Online.For a listing of past columns by Arjun Raja, please Know more.