Watch: At Napier in 1989/90, Sachin Tendulkar fell 12 short of the world record for the youngest Test match centurion.
It had been almost three months since Sachin Tendulkar had broken through to Test cricket, in Pakistan, but his countrymen back home were deprived of the moment. He made two Test fifties on that series, including one after being hit on the face by fellow debutant Waqar Younis.
Tendulkar next toured New Zealand. In the first Test match, at Christchurch, he fell first ball to Danny Morrison in the first innings. He made 23 in the second, but India slumped to a ten-wicket defeat.
Things looked better for the tourists at Napier after rain washed out the first day and a half. WV Raman fell first ball after India opted to bat, but Manoj Prabhakar made a fifty, and they reached 126-2 by stumps.
Tendulkar joined Prabhakar next day, with India on 152-4, and – to quote the Wisden Almanack – “looked considerably older than his sixteen years as, with strong driving and deft placements” to reach 80 by stumps.
At the other end, India had lost Prabhakar for 95 and Kapil Dev soon afterwards, but Kiran More (73) helped Tendulkar put on 128 for the seventh wicket and fell just before stumps.
Mushtaq Mohammad was only 17 years 78 days old when he had made 101 against India at Delhi in 1960/61. Only 16, Tendulkar was, thus, a mere twenty short of usurping Mushtaq’s world record.
Back then, Test cricket from outside Asia was not telecast back in India, but many woke up at unearthly hours in the morning to tune in to history being created at a distant continent.
When Morrison bowled short, Tendulkar cut ferociously for four. He then drove one down the ground, and Venkatapathy Raju sprinted back for the all-run four.
Only twelve remained now, but Morrison pitched up, and Tendulkar hit the ball straight to mid-off (“I made a mistake”, he would confess at the post-match presentation). John Wright, who would go on to coach the Indian team in a decade’s time, pouched the catch, and the thousands who had stayed up back home returned to their sleep.
The Test match fizzled out to a draw after Wright made a hundred. Tendulkar admitted to being “quite disappointed” at falling short of a hundred.
Tendulkar had another shot at Mushtaq’s record at Auckland, but made five in his only innings. The elusive maiden Test hundred finally came at Old Trafford, but not the world record: he missed it by 29 days.
Mushtaq’s record was finally broken in 2001, when a debutant Mohammad Ashraful made 114 at the SSC in Colombo. He was 17 years 61 days old.
Watch Sachin Tendulkar miss out on his world record maiden hundred:
16-year-old Sachin Tendulkar, who came within 12 runs of becoming the youngest person to make a Test hundred #ONTHISDAY 12-02-1990 when he was out to New Zealand's @SteelyDan66 in the 2nd Test in Napier. Out For 88.@sachin_rt Interview at the end of Play.pic.twitter.com/Wz3VYxOLjg
— Zohaib (Cricket King)🇵🇰🏏 (@Zohaib1981) February 12, 2024
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