Test-saving hundreds have become extinct now but Sachin Tendulkar carved out one such innings exactly 30 years ago, the seeds of which were sown during one afternoon in Sialkot, eight months prior to that gloomy Manchester day.
It was on August 14, 1990, that Tendulkar scored the first of his 100 international centuries, a majestic 119 not out on a fifth day track to save the game for India.
Asked about that special first, and it seemed like yesterday.
“I scored that 100 on August 14 and next day was our Independence Day, so it was special. The headline was different and that hundred at least kept the series alive till next Test at the Oval,” Tendulkar told PTI on the eve of the 30th anniversary of his first ton.
So what exactly was the feeling, apart from the pure joy of achieving the milestone?
“The art of saving a Test match was a new experience for me,” Tendulkar said but added he knew he could save a game when he batted with a “bloodied nose” and a blood-soaked jersey after being hit by Waqar Younis.
“In Sialkot where I got hit and scored 57, we saved that Test match, too, from 38 for 4. Waqar’s bouncer and playing through pain defined me. After those kind of hits you are either stronger or you are nowhere to be seen.”
As scary as it may seem now, Tendulkar, in the first innings of that Manchester match, was hit on the back of the head by one of the fastest pacers in the world back then, Devon Malcolm.
“Yes, I didn’t call the phsyio as I didn’t want to show them that I am in pain. My pain threshold was fairly high. It’s okay to get hit. So what. You don’t show your pain to the bowler,” the legend said.