New Delhi - AFP Sports picks Sachin Tendulkar's top five one-day centuries in chronological order after the record-setting Indian batsman retired from 50-over international cricket on Sunday.
- 110 v Australia in Colombo, September 9, 1994
Tendulkar took 79 matches and more than four years to score his maiden one-day hundred - 110 against Australia - but it was just the beginning of bigger deeds to come from his punishing blade.
Australian pacemen Glenn McGrath and Craig McDermott, and spinners Shane Warne and Tim May were at the receiving end on a humid day as Tendulkar hammered a 130-ball 110 as an opener to set up his team's victory.
It was also the beginning of the great Tendulkar-Warne rivalry.
"He pleased the aesthetic as well as the mathematical mind in making his first one-day international. He gave immense pleasure not only by the achievement, but by his methods," wrote the Hindu newspaper.
- 143 v Australia in Sharjah, April 22, 1998
Steve Waugh's Australians were blown away by a "desert storm" called Tendulkar, who smashed five sixes and nine fours in his 131-ball 143 to help India qualify for the final of a one-day tournament in Sharjah.
India needed 276 to win, or 237 to qualify off 46 overs, when their target was revised following a sandstorm. India finished at 250-5, thanks to Tendulkar's blitz.
The Australian attack comprising Damien Fleming, Michael Kasprowicz, Warne, Tom Moody and Waugh was reduced to a state of helplessness as runs flowed with amazing rapidity from Tendulkar's bat.
"I just kept hitting and connecting. It was my day. What more can I say?" said Tendulkar, who was then two days short of his 25th birthday.
- 140 not out v Kenya at Bristol, May 23, 1999
Tendulkar's explosive 101-ball 140 not out against a hapless Kenya was a century with a difference in that he played the World Cup match a few days after attending his father's funeral in Mumbai.
He added 237 for the unfinished third-wicket stand with Rahul Dravid (104 not out) to set up his team's victory.
"In Tendulkar, the team found its most loyal servant. One who, in the interest of the country, put his personal tragedy behind and produced an innings which shall rank among the all-time best," wrote the Hindu newspaper.
- 200 not out v South Africa at Gwalior, February 24, 2010
That age could not wither Tendulkar was proved when he cracked an unbeaten 200 against South Africa, the first double-century in this format after 2 961 matches since the first one-dayer was played in January 1971.
Tendulkar, two months short of his 37th birthday, batted with the enthusiasm of a youngster and hit three sixes and 25 fours against an attack that included Dale Steyn, Wayne Parnell, Charl Langeveldt and Jacques Kallis.
"I don't know how to react," said Tendulkar. "I'd like to dedicate this double-hundred to the people of India for standing behind me for the last 20 years throughout the ups and downs."
- 114 v Bangladesh at Dhaka, March 16, 2012
Tendulkar became the first man in international cricket to complete a century of international hundreds with a robust 114 against Bangladesh in an Asia Cup match at Dhaka, but more significant were the circumstances in which he scored it.
Pressure had been mounting on him ever since he made his 99th ton against South Africa in a World Cup match in March 2011. He was the most relieved person when he reached the magic three-figure mark.
"The hundredth 100 was the most difficult to get. I really don't know why, but it was," Tendulkar said.
"Maybe because it had turned into a national obsession. Maybe because I wasn't able to escape talk of the hundredth 100 and it was affecting me at a subconscious level. Maybe God was trying me harder."
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