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Chasing a world record...and failing

Sachin Tendulkar scored his world record-equalling 34th Test century against Bangladesh at Dhaka on December 11, 2004. He has been trying to set a new world record since then, without success. Tendulkar's seven outings in Test cricket since he drew level with Sunil Gavaskar have been characterized by a tangible diffidence. He seems to have put a tremendous amount of pressure on himself, as is clear from the following:

* 36 vs. Bangladesh at Chittagong, December, 2004: Played a crisp innings of 36 while occupying the crease for 79 minutes. He faced 55 balls and hit six boundaries. He was unbeaten on 36 at the end of the first day. But he was trapped lbw by Mashrafe Mortaza off the very first ball of the next day.

 

* 94 vs. Pakistan at Chandigarh March, 2005: The closest he came towards the coveted milestone. Facing medium pace bowler Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, he drove the ball on the up, only for the cherry to fly into the gully region where Asim Kamal held a fine diving catch. Tendulkar batted for five hours while facing 202 balls. His innings comprised eleven boundaries.

* 52 & 52 vs. Pakistan at Kolkata March 2005: Got out to identical scores in both innings. He was caught by wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal off leg-spinner Shahid Afridi in the first innings, and he fell in the same fashion to fast-medium bowler Abdul Razzaq in the second essay. Tendulkar occupied the crease for 147 minutes in the first innings and 117 in the second, and cracked nine boundaries in both outings. In the first innings, he took 19 balls to open his account in the first innings and completed 10,000 runs in Test cricket, before being dismissed while chasing a wide ball. A shocking decision by the 58-year old Steve Bucknor, who was standing in his hundredth Test, led to Tendulkar's demise in fading light in the second innings.

* 41 & 16 vs. Pakistan at Bangalore, March 2005: In the first innings, Tendulkar tried to hoist Shahid Afridi over the infield, only to get a thick outside edge and hole out to point, where Younis Khan held a simple catch. Afridi once again accounted for Tendulkar in the second innings, when the maestro failed to keep down a ball that kicked a little. He was caught by Asim Kamal at square leg. Tendulkar's 16 in the second essay took him 98 balls and 140 minutes to score.

* 22 vs. Sri Lanka at Chennai, December 2005: Tendulkar ground out a painstakingly slow 22 off 126 balls, a knock that included only two fours. He occupied the crease for 157 minutes, before playing back and missing a nipping off-break by Muttiah Muralitharan. Tendulkar's dismissal stunned his supporters and some astrologers, who had predicted that he would break Gavaskar's record that afternoon!

 

 
 
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RANK TEAM POINTS
1 AustraliaAustralia 118
2 IndiaIndia 112
3 cricketPakistan 111
4 EnglandEngland 108
5 AustraliaNew Zealand 98
6 SouthSouth Africa 92
7 sri LankaSri Lanka 85
8 West IndiesWest Indies 65
9 BangladeshBangladesh 57
10 ZimbabweZimbabwe 48
RANK TEAM POINTS
1 AustraliaAustralia 123
2 new ZealandNew Zealand 113
3 ZimbabweIndia 110
4 South AfricaSouth Africa 110
5 EnglandEngland 106
6 sri LankaSri Lanka 102
7 BangladeshBangladesh 98
8 countryWest Indies 94
9 cricket Pakistan 87
10 AfghanistanAfghanistan 49
RANK TEAM POINTS
1 New ZealandNew Zealand 132
2 IndiaIndia 128
3 west IndiesWest Indies 122
4 AfricaSouth Africa 119
5 EnglandEngland 116
6 AustraliaAustralia 110
7 Pakistan Pakistan 104
8 sri LankaSri Lanka 96
9 AfghanistanAfghanistan 78
10 BangladeshBangladesh 74
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