"That day it just seemed like there was a magnet in his bat and the ball was just attracted to the centre of his bat."
Wayne Parnell still has crystal clear memories of the day Sachin Tendulkar rewrote history books.
"He just kept hitting everything past fielders and into the gaps. He just played the way he normally does - classy, elegant but also smart and calculated."
Captain Roop Singh Stadium in Gwalior was a sea of emotions as Sachin Tendulkar guided a wide yorker from Charles Langeveldt to point and scampered across to complete the epochal 200th run and lifted his arms to thank the heavens.
It's been 10 years to the day the cricketing world was treated to a masterclass in placement and manipulating the field as the 200-run peak was finally scaled in men's one-day internationals. It was perhaps inevitable and fitting as well that the first man to scale the Mount 200 would be Sachin Tendulkar. Those 200 runs scored off 147 balls were laced with 25 fours and three sixes as he slayed the South African bowling with surgical precision.
10 years is a long time, but the memories are still afresh in the minds of those who were a part of that history and also who witnessed it. Dinesh Karthik, Wayne Parnell, JP Duminy, Yusuf Pathan, and umpire Shahvir Tarapore, who were all part of that match, walk down the memory lane to relive the unforgettable day with Firstpost.
Wayne Parnell (10-0-95-2 in the match)
It was quite a strange game, actually. India got off to a flier. I managed to get two wickets. I think I got Sehwag out caught at third man and then Dinesh Karthik out caught at mid-wicket. But I think Sachin was having one of those days where he was hitting everything out of the middle of the bat. And you sort of knew he was going to score runs but you didn't know he was going to get 200. But it was very fitting you know that Sachin being the legend that he is was the first guy to actually get there. And I think it was even better that he managed to get it in India.
Bowling plans gone haywire
The plan was to just keep it simple and to try and prevent him from scoring boundaries. But the Gwalior field is very small and it's a very fast outfield. And someone with his skill level, he just kept piercing the field the whole time and kept scoring boundaries. And he was actually scoring quite quickly for someone who wasn't really known to score that quickly in one-day cricket. That day it just seemed like there was a magnet in his bat and the ball was just attracted to the center of his bat and he just kept hitting everything past fielders and into the gaps and just play the way he normally does - classy, elegant but also smart and calculated. And to post such a high total at that particular time...10 years ago was something really special and he was one of those special cricketers.
A day when nothing really worked
I think that was one of the most difficult games as a bowler because it was a small field, a quick outfield and you had a guy who was hitting the middle of the bat every single ball. So you had to try different things. I was trying to bowl round the wicket, over the wicket, trying to bowl yorkers, trying to bowl slower balls but it was just one of those days where nothing really worked. It was obviously a really special occasion as well and I am just happy that I was a part of that.
The most impressive thing about Sachin when he bats is he is so organized. Whenever I used to play against him, I used to be so fascinated. It's almost like he knew where you are going to bowl. And that was one thing that always stood out for me watching him bat. And that day was particularly one of those innings I actually noticed it even more. It's almost like he knew every single ball, 'okay cool, you are going to come here, you are gonna bowl full, you are gonna bowl short, you are gonna bowl straight, you are gonna bowl wide, so that was for me a really key thing that stood out in that innings.
The WOW Shots
There was actually a shot he hit off Dale Steyn where he kept on walking onto the off-side and hitting it to through the leg side,” Parnell recalls. “So what the captain then went and told Dale was to bowl full and wide. I was at deep square leg and came into the ring and was next to the square-leg umpire. And I remember like once or twice, he literally...he obviously knew it was going to be wide but he still managed to get the ball past square leg for four and I think there were two or three shots where he hit like that past me at square leg and I was just thinking to myself, WOW! Firstly obviously you know where the ball is going to be but to still execute the shot and to not even go across and hit it over extra cover and to be able to hit the ball past square leg just showed what special talent Sachin Tendulkar had.
One-eyed Langeveldt and being a part of history
There was actually a funny thing that happened in that game. Charles Langeveldt who is the Proteas bowling coach currently, was fielding at either mid-on or mid-off and someone hit the ball straight and I think he went down to field the ball and it bounced up to hit him in the eye. He had a cut and went off the field and he then came back onto the field a few overs later and actually continued bowling. And we actually used to laugh at him and tease him because he had only one eye and was very accurate that day. But he is also the guy that Sachin got the 200th run off. So Langeveldt is also a part of that history. If I remember correctly I think it was a single to point fielder.
Dinesh Karthik (Scored 79 off 85 balls and stitched a 194-run stand with Sachin for the 2nd wicket)
He had a small injury or a niggle so he couldn't really get the big shots going but the way he was just using the gaps and the way he was beating the fields was a lesson in itself. Unbelievable actually. I remember he was coming inside and flicking Wayne Parnell and he was going over the covers to Jacques Kallis. He was basically toying with the bowling. It was just a masterclass on how to use gaps and how to beat fields.
A lot of time manipulating fields can be very hard but the way paaji was just making it look too easy...It's been a very big forte of his batting. Even in the IPL and all towards the end, after his elbow injury, the way he was able to manipulate field was something phenomenal about him. I remember we went on to win the game and he was awarded the man of the series. He got a lovely car I remember it was Volvo, a brilliant car and he didn't even play the game in Ahmedabad (the 3rd ODI).
As cliched as it sounds, it was phenomenal (atmosphere) because it's not always you get someone hitting a double century. It was unthinkable at that stage. And the right man did it at that stage and then it was a benchmark set for the other people.
JP Duminy (5-0-38-0 in the match)
No answers to the masterclass
The first memory that comes to my mind is that at no point in time did it look like we are ever going to get him out. He dominated from ball one. It was quite a small field at Gwalior but anything we threw at him he had answers to them and we didn't have any answers for him. And I remember splitting my webbing so it wasn't a great game for myself, I think I got a duck as well. It wasn't a good personal day but having the opportunity to be part of the game where somebody scored a double hundred was exceptional to watch.
The 100th run
I don't remember that (Sachin's 100th run was scored off my bowling) to be honest, I tried to probably put it out of my mind because it wasn't a good day firstly (chuckles).
Captain's chat in the middle
We were just trying to work out and come up with plans of trying to stop him. The conversation probably changed from trying to get him out to trying to stop him. But unfortunately, we were unsuccessful with that. So it was one of those things where you look back and you think you just got to kind of admire just the masterclass of the man and appreciate the innings that he played.
Yusuf Pathan (Scored 36 off 23 and added 81 runs with Sachin for 3rd wicket)
An unforgettable knock
Whenever I watch the match or remember that knock, I can visualise each and every shot he had hit. The way he had batted. You can never forget that innings. You know, I have forgotten my innings but Paaji's innings will forever be etched in my memory.
A guide and a motivator
He gave me knowledge about the bowlers, the ground dimensions and told me just back yourself whatever shots you play, enjoy yourself. Keep watching the ball closely. The chat was simple, you play your game and I will also keep going. When someone of the stature of Sachin Tendulkar is going like that, the confidence shoots up. It goes on a different level. That happened that day.
Battling cramps and cheating pain
Gwalior is a humid place and you perspire a lot, it isn't easy to play these big innings batting full 50 overs. You are running your runs, non-striker's runs and hitting fours and sixes, so it's natural that you might cramp, but he didn't let that pain get into his mind. He just kept playing and it was always the case with him, the pain shall wait, if something good is happening, we need to continue that.”
The history vibes
The way paaji was playing, he didn't let any of the bowlers settle and with the number of overs remaining, we were feeling that he will definitely score a 200 today, nothing less than that. When he reached 150 (12.3 overs remaining), the way he was playing and the experience had had over the years, you could strongly feel that history is going to be created today. The vibes in the dressing room were that it's definitely going to happen today. And he did it.
9 balls on 199 and the atmosphere in the dressing room
We all were thinking in the dressing room, 'bas paaji should get the strike' somehow, anyhow'.
Shahvir Tarapore (One of the on-field umpires in the match)
A typical Sachin innings
It was one of those typical innings of Sachin. Typical in the sense, he started off slowly in that innings and as the innings continued, he played some breathtaking shots and from there obviously from one landmark to the other. I had also umpired in the game when he had got 186 vs NZ (his previous highest score), it was my debut game so when he kept on passing one landmark after the other, that was the first time it struck that he was nearing his 200.
Some of the shots were from the top bracket itself. I can still remember he got quite a few runs on the off-side between cover-point and point off the front foot. The cover drive and the cover-point drive caught my eye in that innings. I can still vividly remember that at one point in time, they had really packed the off-side field and he was still able to penetrate that.
Great to be a part of history
Our role is different. However elated we feel on somebody achieving a record, we can't express ourselves out there. It was a great feeling of course. After the game and after history is made and to be part of it, all those things come back to you at a later time. To be part of history is superb.
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