Sachin Tendulkar’s first international game
There is absolutely no doubt that Sachin Tendulkar is one of the greatest ever to have stepped foot on a cricket field. He was arguably the most complete batsman in the history of the game. The Little Master played international cricket for a staggering 24 years and featured in 664 international matches (200 Test matches, 463 ODIs and one T20I). The Mumbai-born batsman amassed a stunning 34357 runs which included 100 centuries and 164 half-centuries.
The list of statistics can go on and on. However, here, we are going to look back on his first-ever international match which took place in 1989.
First Match of Sachin Tendulkar
Tendulkar had barely played a year of first-class cricket before he was included in the Indian Test side for the tour of Pakistan in 1989-90. In the first Test which started on 15 November, Tendulkar was named in the starting XI. There were two debutants from each side. Apart from Tendulkar, pacer Salil Ankola also made his debut for India. Meanwhile, in the Pakistan national team, medium-pacer Shahid Saeed and fast bowler Waqar Younis also made their Test debuts. In fact, the irony was that it happened to be the one and only Test match for Ankola and Saeed while Tendulkar and Younis went on to have legendary careers.
India’s captain Kris Srikkanth won the toss and opted to field first. Kapil Dev provided a good start as he had Aamer Malik packing early on. However, the other Pakistan batsmen got stuck in. Ramiz Raja had scored 44 at the top of the order before Shoaib Mohammad (67) and Javed Miandad (78) registered fifties. However, the star of the innings was the Pakistan skipper Imran Khan who stroked a fine unbeaten 109. He scored 17 fours and one six in his 146-ball knock. It was his knock that propelled Pakistan to 409. For India, their two experienced fast bowlers, Kapil Dev and Manoj Prabhakar, led the way. Dev picked up four wickets while Prabhakar took five. Tendulkar bowled one over and conceded 10 runs.
In reply, India found themselves in deep trouble early in the innings. Wasim Akram and debutant Waqar Younis wreaked havoc as they took two wickets apiece to reduce India to 41 for 4. And that was when the debutant 16-year-old Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar walked out to bat (at No. 6).
While Tendulkar made just 15, the teenage prodigy showed what he was capable of. He hit a couple of boundaries, including one straight down the ground off Waqar Younis. However, the latter eventually dismissed him in the battle of the debutants as Younis knocked Tendulkar’s stumps over. The Mumbaikar shared a 32-run partnership with Mohammad Azharuddin for the fifth wicket as well.
After Tendulkar, Azharuddin was sent back by Imran Khan and India were in huge trouble at 85 for 6. However, India’s lower order came to the rescue. Ravi Shastri made 45 while the likes of Kapil Dev (55) and Kiran More (58 not out) to help India avoid the follow-on and eventually reach 262. Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis took two wickets each while Imran Khan and Abdul Qadir picked up one wicket each.
In the second essay, Pakistan lost a couple of early wickets and it was once again the pace bowling duo of Kapil Dev and Manoj Prabhakar who did the damage. However, Shoaib Mohammad’s 95 and Saleem Malik’s 102 took them to safe waters. The hosts declared on 305 for 5 and set India a target of 453 with more than four sessions to go.
India showed a lot of composure and fight in their second innings. Skipper Kris Srikkanth gave them a good start with 31. Meanwhile, Navjot Singh Sidhu was rock solid at the other end. He scored 85 and shared a 135-run partnership for the second wicket with Sanjay Manjrekar who scored a fighting hundred. Manjrekar made 113 not out as Azharuddin (35) and Shastri (22 not out) made decent contributions as they helped India save the Test match. Tendulkar did not get to bat in the second innings.
The four-match Test series was drawn 0-0 and Tendulkar went on to score a couple of half-centuries. He compiled 215 runs at an average of 35.83.
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