Exactly nine year ago, during the third ODI of India’s tour of New Zealand in 2009 at Christchurch, Sachin Tendulkar scored his 43rd ODI century. Having lost the first ODI by 53 runs (D/L Method) at Napier and a called-off second ODI, Brendon McCullum, then New Zealand’s captain, had won the toss and chose to field.
The tried and tested pair of Virender Sehwag and Tendulkar were to face New Zealand’s new-ball opening pair of Kyle Mills and Tim Southee. India received an early blow as Virender Sehwag (3) was bowled by Mills in the third over. Gautam Gambhir (15), who came out to bat at No. 3, too walked back cheaply in the 13th over as India were reduced to 65-2.
By this time, having hit six boundaries, Tendulkar had set his feet in. The master blaster was at his utmost best and a master-class from him was on the cards. On the first ball of the 17th over, with a leg-glance off Ian Buttler for four runs, Tendulkar brought up his 92nd ODI half-century (off 59 balls).
India decided to take the batting powerplay in the 23rd over. Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh (87) scored a whopping 69 runs in the batting powerplay. By the end of the powerplay, India had reached 190-2 in 27 overs.
On the last delivery of the 36th over, Tendulkar completed his first century in New Zealand with a single off Grant Elliott. Tendulkar’s hunger for runs did not stop after completing the milestone. In fact, he started playing more freely after the hundred. His next 63 runs came off 32 deliveries.
Tendulkar eventually had to retire hurt in the 45th over. He ended up scoring 163 (133) with the help of 16 fours & five sixes in a ‘Man of the Match’ performance, his 58th in ODIs. In their allotted quota of 50 overs, India scored 392-4. Late blitz by Mahendra Singh Dhoni (68) and Suresh Raina (38*) had helped their cause.
India gained a 2-0 lead in the series as they dismissed New Zealand for 334 in 45.1 overs.
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