What a match it turned out to be. 667 runs and no winner. I think the grand performance from both sides was summed up by Mike Artheton, former England captain who said "Neither Sachin nor Strauss deserved to be in the losing side".
While Strauss was brutal in his reply through some strokes which made him look, at times, like he was squatting musquitos, Sachin seemed like a 1810 wine. Absolutely vintage stuff from the legend. Never ceases to amaze us, does he? He fits into any form of the game with such eaze.
The first time I decided to watch him bat was during a Sharjha Cup finals. Unfortunately he was out for a first ball duck with Aaqib Javed destroying the Indian batting line up with figures of 7/37. But what struck me the first time I saw him was the perfect poise in his stance. I am no analyst of the game, but I think the first impression you form of a batsman is from his batting stance. No wonder that Gavaskar hailed him as the batsman who achieved perfect balance when executing his strokes.
He is another of India's short statured batsmen who commands respect from his peers and opponents alike. A genius, but not an eccentric one like Maradona or Bobby Fischer. Sachin is what he is today due to his relentless dedication, discipline and passion he has displayed for the game. So different from his schoolmate Kambli who could not fulfill coach Achrekar's dream of giving the game it's greatest right-handed and left-handed batsman.
I watched the first innings of the India Pakistan match at Centurion in the 2003 world cup at CET's hostel . When I came out after the first innings, most of them who saw the game till then were telling that India would crumble under the attack of Wasim,Waqar and Shoaib. When I saw Sachin bat for around 30 minutes I thought he had an early appointment with someone outside the stadium. He was playing an innings befitting the cricketing gods.For a while he was a combination of the Don and Viv Richards. As ironical as it could get he got out once again to a brute of a delivery from Akthar. That was the only way he could have been dismissed. Probably Sachin would have relived the moment Adam Bacher took a spell binding catch to dismiss him in South Africa during a Test match.
I don't think even he knew what kind of a bowler he was. He sometimes spun the ball more than any one else when he tried his hand at legspinners. He had his moments of eccentricites as well. Bowling the final over of the Hero Cup semi-final against South Africa was one. But the same gutsy decision had the reverse effect during IPL 2010 when he captained Mumbai Indians.
He never scored a Test century at Lords, but had his moment during the Diana Memorial match when he stamped his authority against a bowling side having Mc Grath and Allan Donald. Probably he felt something was wrong when he found he didn't have a century against his name at Lord's while Bombay duck Ajith Agarkar had one at the Mecca of cricket!!!
Women at a dance bar in Buenos Aires, Argentina said that the only time men coming there didn't look at them was when the TV showed the goals scored by Maradona. BBC Sports said "When Sachin goes out to bat, people switch on their TV sets and switch off their lives".
During the 1975 and 1979 world cup, West Indian fans used to display banners which proclaimed "The World Cup belongs to West Indies". Couldn't argue much with them for saying that. Probably Sachin needs to satisfy fans who feel his trophy cabinet deserves the elusive World Cup. I think we are going to witness something magical.
Yeh Dil Maange more.