The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Blaster gives way to grafter

Sydney, Jan. 2: Less than a week ago, Sachin Tendulkar didn’t have the confidence to take guard with a few overs remaining (on the third afternoon) at the MCG. Today, at the SCG, he posted his best for this four-Test series and looked good for more.

At stumps on Day I, Sachin was unbeaten on 73 — his highest since 176 at the Eden Gardens, versus the West Indies, in November 2002. More than the artist within, it’s the craftsman which dictated — whatever, nobody complained.

India, of course, reached 284 for three. Given that the series is 1-1, Sourav Ganguly couldn’t have hoped for a much better platform.

Usually, Sachin doesn’t talk during an innings. But, on returning to the team hotel (and his family, including in-laws), he did briefly speak to The Telegraph.

“Yes, it’s definitely a good feeling.... Feels nice to have spent time at the wicket....” he said, indicating that those few words were enough.

Among other things, Sachin is bound to make the Australians think hard overnight. Coach John Buchanan, though, attempted not to be too impressed. “For somebody with a high average (56-plus at the start of this series), the law suggested he would get a big score.... He has weathered the storm and batted the longest thus far in any of the four Tests,” he observed.

Significantly, Sachin is within reach of his 32nd century, which will put him on a par with Steve Waugh. With 34 to his credit, Sunil Gavaskar remains the numero uno.

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