Dhaka - Indian batting superstar Sachin Tendulkar on Friday became the first cricketer in history to score 100 international centuries, reaching a new record in his glittering two-decade career.
Tendulkar, who turns 39 next month, achieved the feat with a century in an Asia Cup match against Bangladesh at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium in Dhaka, ending a nervous wait of more than a year for millions of fans.
The Mumbai batsman, who has compiled more Test and one-day runs than anyone in history, reached the milestone with a single, marking the moment with a modest glance to the sky while pointing to the Indian flag on his helmet.
Tendulkar, already a legend of the modern era and one of the greats of all time, made 114 off 147 balls with 12 fours and a six, before he was caught behind off seamer Mashrafe Mortaza in the 47th over.
"It has not sunk in yet," he told the Neo Cricket channel, who are broadcasting the Asia Cup matches.
"I was not thinking about the milestone. The media started all this. In the restaurant, room service, everyone was talking about the 100th hundred," he added.
Tendulkar is the most capped player in the history of the game with 188 Test and 462 one-day appearances since making his debut against Pakistan in Karachi in November, 1989.
He has scored 49 one-day hundreds and 51 centuries in Test matches.
The father-of two, known variously as the "Little Master" or "Bombay Blaster", is worshipped as a demi-god in his cricket-crazy country and has barely put a foot wrong since he burst on the world stage in 1989, aged 16.
"I join the nation in congratulating Sachin Tendulkar on his making history -- a hundred centuries. He has made India proud," Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said as the country celebrated.
He scored his 99th ton during a World Cup match against South Africa in Nagpur on March 12 last year, but failed to add to the tally on subsequent tours of England and Australia and a home series against the West Indies.
International Cricket Council chief executive Haroon Lorgat also lauded Tendulkar's achievement.
"On behalf of every cricket fan around the globe, I congratulate Sachin on becoming the first person to score 100 centuries for his country," Lorgat said in a statement.
"This is indeed a magnificent feat and not likely to be easily emulated. The number 100 is special for a batsman and to record 100 centuries for your country is a massive statement.
"He is a marvel to cricket lovers around the world and with an array of batting records, Sachin is a true role model who will undoubtedly hold a special place in cricket's history," Lorgat said.
Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting is the second batsman on the all-time list with 71 international centuries.
Sachin Tendulkar's five most memorable centuries in chronological order after he became the first batsman to score 100 international hundreds on Friday:
- 119 not out, England v India Test match, Old Trafford, August 1990.
Tendulkar himself regards his first Test century as one of his best. Coming in to bat with India struggling at 109-4 after being set 408 to win, the 17-year-old defied the English attack on a seamer's wicket for almost six hours to steer his team to a draw.
- 114, Australia v India Test match, Perth, February 1992.
The 19-year-old Tendulkar mastered the fast Perth wicket to hit a brilliant 114 against an all-out pace attack of Craig McDermott, Merv Hughes, Paul Reiffel and Mike Whitney. The little man drove, cut and pulled effortlessly on a pitch where the next highest score by a team-mate was Kiran More's 43. Australian fans were bowled over by the batsman, who the legend Don Bradman said reminded him of himself in his younger days.
- 155 not out, India v Australia Test match, Chennai, March 1998.
India, who trailed by 71 runs in the first innings, rode on Tendulkar's brilliant unbeaten 155 in the second knock to set Australia a target of 348 runs and win the match by 179 runs. Tendulkar hit 14 boundaries and four sixes, smashing Warne out of the attack. Warne, who had dismissed Tendulkar for four in the first innings, was hammered for 1-122 the second time. Afterwards Warne would joke that Tendulkar's aggression gave him nightmares and the Australian named the Indian star as the number one in his list of 50 greatest cricketers.
- 103 not out India v England Test match, Chennai, December 2008.
In one of the most emotional moments in Indian cricket, Tendulkar engineered a remarkable win over England two weeks after his home city of Mumbai was ravaged by the brutal November 26 terrorist attack. Set 387 for victory on the fourth afternoon, India achieved the highest run chase on home soil and the fifth highest in history as Tendulkar ensured that Virender Sehwag's bright start of 83 off 68 balls was not wasted. Tendulkar reached his century with the winning boundary to the fine-leg fence and dedicated the landmark to the entire nation that was mourning the Mumbai attacks. "Their loss can't be replaced, but I hope this win brings some cheer to those who lost dear ones in the attack," Tendulkar said. It was the first time Tendulkar had scored a century in a successful fourth-innings chase.
- 200 not out, India v South Africa one-dayer, Gwalior, February 24, 2010.
The first and only double-century in the history of men's limited-overs international cricket fittingly came from the most prolific batsman in the game. The 36-year-old batted from the first over to the last to reach 200 off 147 balls with 25 boundaries and three sixes against an attack that included Dale Steyn, Wayne Parnell, Charl Langeveldt and Jacques Kallis. India won the match by 153 runs.
Top century-makers in history:
Under: Total, player, country, Tests, ODIs, Twenty20's:
100 - Sachin Tendulkar (IND) 51 49 -
71 - Ricky Ponting (AUS) 41 30 -
59 - Jacques Kallis (RSA) 42 17 -
53 - Brian Lara (WIS) 34 19 -
48 - Rahul Dravid (IND) 36 12 -
45 - Mahela Jayawardene (SRI) 29 15 1
42 - Sanath Jayasuriya (SRI) 14 28 -
41 - Kumar Sangakkara (SRI) 28 13 -
40 - Matthew Hayden (AUS) 30 10 -
39 - Mohammad Yousuf (PAK) 24 15 -
38 - Mark Waugh (AUS) 20 18 -
38 - Sourav Ganguly (IND) 16 22 -
(Tendulkar, Ponting, Kallis, Jayawardene and Sangakkara are the only ones in the list still playing international cricket.)