Wed, 20 Apr 2011 22:00:38 GMT | By Hariharan Sriram

Decided: Sachin’s greatest test and ODI inning

21 years, 99 centuries, 154 fifties and nearly 33000 runs in both formats of the game.

Decided: Sachin’s greatest test and ODI inning

It can't get any better, which is why it always was, is and will be the most challenging assignment for a writer to select that one knock that stands out from the pack. A task of picking the greatest from the great, the first amongst equals. Picking Sachin Tendulkar's best knocks in the ODI and Test format, is like taking a call on S D Burman best composition. Still, here's a humble attempt. Let the discussions begin!

Greatest ODI knock

If one were to ask Sachin Tendulkar what his favorite ODI innings was he would, in his most modest self, possibly say it was his knock of 18 in the World Cup final. But then, as with most great sportsmen, it is us the fans, who puff up with pride reliving the many great memories he has bestowed upon us. Whether it his masterful 98 against Pakistan at Centurion in a winning cause or the magnificent 175 at Hyderabad, when India fell just short, we write paeans to celebrate it.

If, however, there was a cricketing version of Noah, who would allow us to retain one innings to remember all great batsmen by, the choice for Sachin Tendulkar is clear: 134 vs Australia, 25th April, 1998. It captures the essence of all that makes Sachin the greatest ODI batsmen ever. While it was primarily vintage Sachin, with his aggressive intent, it was, in hindsight, a curtain raiser to his later accumulator version.

One of the lasting memories from the innings was his treatment of the magical Shane Warne: After being tonked around by the Little Master, Shane Warne decided to come around the wicket to contain him, having seemingly lost hope of getting him out. The response: a quick skip down the track and a nonchalant strike for six over long on. Some may say it was a psychological battle, and Sachin was ensuring that Warne did not settle into a rhythm.

But looking back at the knock and the sheer adrenaline that would have been pumping through his body, this seemed but a natural reaction to a ball which he deemed fit to be deposited in the stands. That only he could have thought of hitting it for a six is what makes it that much more special. While the World Cup match against Pakistan in 2003 gave him 12 sleepless nights prior to it, this knock has given the bowlers world over more than a dozen sleepless years since.

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