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Watch: 16-year-old Sachin Tendulkar hit in face by Waqar Younis bouncer, still battles to Test-saving fifty

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Watch: At Sialkot in 1989/90, Sachin Tendulkar recovered after being hit by a Waqar Younis bouncer to score a fifty and help India save the Test match against Pakistan.

Tendulkar had scored 59 in the second Test of his debut series, in Faisalabad. There had been a couple of cameos as well, and he got 35 in the first innings of the fourth match, in Sialkot. With Sanjay Manjrekar scoring 72 and Mohammad Azharuddin 52, India made 324 as Wasim Akram took 5-101.

In response, Vivek Razdan took 5-79 in what curiously turned out to be his last Test match. Ramiz Raja got 56, but Pakistan were bowled out for 250. For the first time in the series, India had taken a first-innings lead.


But Pakistan hit back. Wasim had claimed Kris Srikkanth, the India captain, in six out of six innings until this point in this series. This time Srikkanth got out to Imran Khan – but Wasim held the catch. Manjrekar, whose six innings in the series had yielded 565 at 113, fell for four too, and India were soon left reeling at 38-4.

Tendulkar joined Navjot Sidhu at this point, and was immediately subjected to a bouncer barrage by Wasim and Waqar. One of these hit Tendulkar on the face – his helmet did not have a visor back then – prompting the television commentator to quip “he doesn’t like it quick at all”.

The teenager was instantly surrounded by anxious faces, including the war-hardened Imran and Javed Miandad, but he reassured them with the phrase “main khelega” (I shall play), words that became part of Indian cricket folklore. A Hindi teacher might have scoffed at the use of the verb, but the cricket fans certainly did not.

Tendulkar eventually made 57 in over three hours of batting, outscoring Sidhu in a 101-run partnership and taking India to safety. Sidhu fell three short of 97, and India finished on 234-7.

Watch Sachin Tendulkar’s counterattack here:


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