Sachin Tendulkar’s Test hundreds, ranked from 51st to best
@ovshake42 5 minute read
Sachin Tendulkar made 51 Test hundreds – a world record that is likely to stay for some time. Here, we make an attempt to rank them.
51. 142 v Sri Lanka, Lucknow 1993/94: A no-contest against pre-1996 Sri Lanka. India batted first and piled up a big score before Anil Kumble took over.
50. 165 v England, Chepauk 1992/93: Another no-contest against an England team having a horror tour where Graeme Hick ended up as their leading wicket-taker.
49. 143 v Sri Lanka, Premadasa 1997: That 952-6 match where 15 wickets fell across five days. India got the first use of the pitch.
48. 201* v Zimbabwe, Nagpur 2000/01: Tendulkar’s highest score against Zimbabwe came on one of the flattest pitches where only 22 wickets fell across five days.
47. 122 v Zimbabwe, Delhi 2000/01: Lower in magnitude than the double hundred in the same series but on a more difficult pitch.
46. 122* v Bangladesh, Mirpur 2007: The top four Indians all got hundreds before Bangladesh caved in.
45. 124* v Sri Lanka, SSC 1998/99: A first-innings hundred in a drab draw on a flat pitch that helped Sri Lanka qualify for the Asian Test Championship final.
44. 148 v Sri Lanka, Wankhede 1997/98: A first-innings hundred in the absence of Muttiah Muralitharan on a pitch that deteriorated.
43. 143 v Bangladesh, Mirpur 2009/10: If the hundred in the first Test match was in difficult conditions and against an attack that looked good, this one posed little challenge.
42. 176 v Zimbabwe, Nagpur 2001/02: Of the three hundreds against Zimbabwe, this came against the most difficult attack, consisting of Heath Streak and Ray Price.
41. 217 v New Zealand, Ahmedabad 1999/00: Tendulkar’s first double hundred did not come against a deep New Zealand attack.
40. 101 v Bangladesh, Chattogram 2007: There was enough assistance for seamers, who did bowled well amidst rain as the Indian first innings got pushed into the fourth day.
39. 179 v West Indies, Nagpur 1994/95: Tendulkar hit 24 fours and a six (to bring up his hundred) in seven hours of controlled aggression against Courtney Walsh & co.
38. 104* v Sri Lanka, SSC 1993: India needed to declare quickly, and Tendulkar led the charge, buying enough time for the team to win an overseas Test match in 27 attempts. It resulted their only overseas series win in the 1990s.
37. 100* v Sri Lanka, Ahmedabad 2009/10: Despite conceding a 334-run lead, India were never under pressure on an easy surface. The captains shook hands two balls after Tendulkar got to his hundred.
36. 105* v Bangladesh, Chattogram 2009/10: It was Tendulkar’s hundred that prevented India from getting bowled out inside a day. India went from 79-0 to 243 all out, but Tendulkar stood firm amidst the ruins.
35. 106 v South Africa, Kolkata 2009/10: The pitch became easier once Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel were done with their first spell, and Tendulkar piled on the runs to help India amass a colossal lead.
34. 203 v Sri Lanka, SSC 2010: With 642-4, Sri Lanka had already batted themselves to safety. The Test match ended in a draw, though not before Tendulkar helped India to secure a lead.
33. 248* v Bangladesh, Dhaka 2004/05: Being Tendulkar’s career-best gave this innings a boost in rank, perhaps undeservingly.
32. 194* v Pakistan, Multan 2003/04: Tendulkar’s most controversial Test match hundred came on a flat pitch against an attack that had already been bullied by Virender Sehwag.
31. 103 v England, Ahmedabad 2001/02: A painstaking hundred, but a well-earned one nevertheless, as Nasser Hussain and Ashley Giles kept Tendulkar quiet with their leg-stump line.
30. 126* v New Zealand, Mohali 1999/00: This ranks above the double-hundred in the same series. India made only 83 and New Zealand 205, but Tendulkar – leading the side – played himself back into form, even allowing teammates to lead the charge.
29. 109 v Australia, Nagpur 2008/09: Tendulkar faced only 188 balls in this mad Test match where the Indians kept hitting and getting out to a debutant Jason Krejza. The hundred played key role in helping India regain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
28. 177 v England, Trent Bridge 1996: One of Tendulkar’s forgotten hundreds came when he strode out at 33-2 in the first session. He helped India amass 521.
27. 148* v Australia, Sydney 1991/92: Tendulkar’s first duel with Shane Warne (who was part of a formidable attack) was overshadowed by Ravi Shastri’s double hundred, but it was a class innings nevertheless.
26. 139 v Sri Lanka, SSC 1997: Sri Lanka 332, India 126-4 – in other words, a familiar Tendulkar rescue story. This time there was company in Sourav Ganguly as Tendulkar helped India secure a lead.
25. 117 v West Indies, Port of Spain 2002: Tendulkar made the only hundred – one of his most hard-fought ones – in India’s first win in the West Indies since the winter of 1975/76.
24. 193 v England, Headingley 2002: Rahul Dravid had laid the platform and Ganguly hit the biggest shots in the innings, but Tendulkar outdid both in sheer volume. India went on to win in England for the first time in 16 years.
23. 176 v West Indies, Kolkata 2002/03: Later that year, India conceded a lead of 139 and slipped to 87-4 when Tendulkar led the resurrection. By the time he was done with his first Test hundred at the Eden Gardens, the match had been saved.
22. 111* v South Africa, Centurion 2010/11: There is little one can do after your side concedes a lead of 484 and have to face a fully rested Steyn and Morkel at their den. Tendulkar put up a masterclass, setting the tone for what would follow two Test matches later.
21. 241* v Australia, Sydney 2003/04: After a string of low scores, Tendulkar eliminated off-side strokes for most part of an near-monklike display of concentration that lasted over two days on a pitch that, to be fair, did not offer much challenge.
20. 153 v Australia, Adelaide 2007/08: India became 156-4, but Tendulkar demonstrated that there were not many demons in the pitch, taking on the bowlers at will over the innings. The 153 took him a mere 205 balls.
19. 109 v Sri Lanka, Delhi 2005/06: This underrated gem came against a rampant Muralitharan (7-100). For perspective, India made only 190 during Tendulkar’s stay, and went from 254-3 to 290 all out.
18. 214 v Australia, Chinnaswamy 2010/11: India needed a big score after conceding 478, and Tendulkar ensured that by dominating a 308-run stand with M Vijay. He fell for what remained his last Test hundred on home soil, and India lost five wickets for nine runs.
17. 100 v South Africa, Nagpur 2009/10: With 7-51, Steyn had just blown India away for 233. Following on, India were 24-2 when Tendulkar arrived. For another cricketer, this hundred would have ranked higher.
16. 160 v New Zealand, Hamilton 2008/09: India bowled out New Zealand for 279 before the batters rose to the task, with Tendulkar scoring more than twice of anyone against a strong attack in a total of 520. It remains India’s only win in New Zealand since 1975/76.
15. 103* v England, Chepauk 2008/09: No team has chased 387 in India till date, and at 224-4, the Test match could have swung either way. Tendulkar took charge to ensure India sealed it comfortably to seal an emotional win in the aftermath of the 26/11 terrorist attacks in his hometown, Mumbai.
14. 177 v Australia, Chinnaswamy 1997/98: Tendulkar had emerged on top, first in the tour match in Bombay, then in the Madras and Calcutta Tests. Here, he was at his brutal best, scoring 134 of his runs in boundaries. At a strike rate of 85.5, this remained the quickest of his hundreds.
13. 154* v Australia, Sydney 2007/08: Overhauling 463 against Australia in Australia is never easy, but after VVS Laxman was done with his customary hundred, Tendulkar dug deep to lift India from 345-7 to 532, including a 129-run stand with Harbhajan Singh.
12. 155 v South Africa, Bloemfontein 2001/02: Shaun Pollock, Makhaya Ntini, Nantie Hayward, Lance Klusener, even Jacques Kallis could all make the ball kick off the surface. India were soon 68-4, but as they kept bouncing, Tendulkar brought out the uppercut that had been stowed away. When they put a fielder there, he still found the gap. The 155 took him 184 balls.
11. 126 v Australia, Chepauk 2000/01: Australia’s streak had ended in Kolkata, but to win the series, they needed a big score against Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie, and Warne. That came from Tendulkar, who helped India secure a 110-run lead and… create history.
10. 113 v New Zealand, Wellington 1998/99: The first-innings was cut short for a 72-ball 47, but Tendulkar kept India afloat with a hundred in testing conditions that the Wisden Almanack described as ‘violent’. No other Indian reached fifty in the innings.
9. 119* v England, Old Trafford 1990: A maiden Test hundred is special to any cricketer, and Tendulkar’s came in testing conditions. He batted for nearly four hours – the last two and a half after the sixth wicket fell – to save the Test match at an age when he was too young to legally use his Player of the Match award, a magnum of champagne.
8. 111 v South Africa, Johannesburg 1992/93: You look at the scorecard and it tells you the story. Still a teenager, Tendulkar made 111 in over six hours of batting against Allan Donald, Brian McMillan, and Craig Matthews. No one else in the top seven reached 15. No one else in the XI went past 25.
7. 122 v England, Edgbaston 1996: Different bowlers, different venue, different year, same story. An even better one, in fact, for the second-highest score was a mere 18. Tendulkar, of course, was batting on another planet: the 122 took him 177 balls, and 82 of his runs came in boundaries.
6. 116 v Australia, Melbourne 1999/00: This one, too, follows the same pattern. Tendulkar played every possible stroke as wickets fell around him. On one hand, there were scores of 31 and 28 in the innings this time, but on the other, they were playing one of the strongest teams of all time away from home.
5. 146 v South Africa, Cape Town 2010/11: Tendulkar’s last Test hundred featured one of the greatest duels of the televised era. On a pitch where Steyn moved the ball at will at great pace, Tendulkar faced 48 out of his 60 balls in a breathtaking phase of cricket on either side of lunch (with the other 12, Steyn struck twice and hit the stumps once more).
4. 155* v Australia, Chepauk 1997/98: Warne had won the first battle, having claimed Tendulkar for four in the first innings, but the latter’s meticulous preparation paid off in the second. The unbeaten 155 decided the fate of the series. Warne did have his moments against Tendulkar, but never on a consistent basis. Of the top nine innings on this list, this is the only one that resulted in a win.
3. 169 v South Africa, Cape Town 1996/97: India were bowled out for 100 and 66 in Durban, and were 58-5 in Cape Town. Tendulkar and Mohammad Azharuddin then added 222 in a blurry 40 overs in a near-unprecedented counterattack against a world-class bowling attack. Azharuddin fell after the mayhem, but Tendulkar carried on with the tail, eventually getting last out to a spectacular catch.
2. 114 v Australia, Perth 1991/92: The same pattern, all over again. Tendulkar came out at 69-2 and left at 240-9 (they were 159-8 at one point) on a fast, pacy wicket against an all-pace attack. One of them, Merv Hughes, addressed captain Allan Border during the innings: “AB, this little pr**k is going to get more runs than you.” It took Tendulkar a little over a to prove Hughes correct.
1. 136 v Pakistan, Chepauk 1998/99: Yes, Nayan Mongia made 52, but that the only other score above 10 as India set out to chase 271 against Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Saqlain Mushtaq, and excruciating back pain that got worse as the innings progressed. After a while, he writhed with every stroke where he had to stretch. Saqlain altered his length, forcing him to reach out every time, until he holed out, leaving the tail to make 17: they made four. India lost the Test match, but then, that is true for the next two entries on the list as well.