When Tendulkar Scored 241 In Australia
The year was 2004. India was middle of another New Year test match in Sydney as part of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. It was a well-fought series. After a drawn test in Brisbane, India took an early lead in the series with a memorable win in Adelaide and Australia came back strongly with a dominating win in the Boxing Day test match at Melbourne.
Coming to the deciding test match, Indian batting line-up was in reasonable good form with four of top six already having a century in that series against their name. Ganguly set the mood early with a wonderful century in Brisbane, Dravid and Laxman joined the party in Adelaide and despite India’s loss in Boxing Day test, Sehwag’s 195 in MCG was one of the most memorable innings played in those shores.
The one player who was not in very good form was Sachin Tendulkar. Scores of 0, 1, 37, 0 and 44 were not very Tendulkarish and there seemed to be a chunk in his armor, where he remained unsure about playing deliveries just outside off stump and three out of his five dismissals were caught behind by nicking fast bowlers to wicket-keeper.
India came to Sydney to chase their first series win in Australia and Tendulkar also had a different agent to bring himself back to form. It was the last test match for Steve Waugh and there were huge hype and interest in the general public. India won the toss and started their innings strongly. The openers batted till 40th over and added 123 runs. But once both the openers were out in quick succession, Tendulkar joined Dravid. That was clearly a more determined Tendulkar and as he played few balls it was clear that he is not going to try playing any wide deliveries outside off. Once Dravid was gone post tea, Laxman joined Tendulkar who was set by then and shown wonderful control and patience to not play any shot on the deliveries which were outside off. He kept playing in the leg side and built a superb partnership with Laxman who was batting masterfully. They added 353 runs in the partnership and although Laxman was gone Tendulkar kept playing with great concentration. As the innings progressed Tendulkar brought back his free-flowing game and reached his third test double hundred. India batted till day three and declared at 705/7. Tendulkar remained unbeaten on 241 on 4th January 2004 and it was his highest test at that time.
Unfortunately, India could not finish the game on day five and had to happy with a draw. However, the 1-1 result ensured that India retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. However, it was a brilliant inning from Tendulkar and a great testimony of the determination and control of the great man who was not hesitated to curb his natural game to get out the best possible outcome for his team.