It ended a year-long wait for one of the most discussed landmarks in cricket history, and was his first ODI hundred against Bangladesh, completing his set of centuries against every Full Member country in both Tests and ODIs.
He reached the 100th hundred in the 44th over with a nudge behind square leg, one of his favoured strokes to reach a century. Despite the huge amount of hype surrounding the landmark, which has shown little sign of abating despite the prolonged wait, there was no over-the-top celebration. The helmet came off and there was a wave of the bat, he looked up at the sky, as he usually does on reaching a hundred, and he acknowledged his team-mates by raising his helmet towards the dressing room. Several of the Bangladesh fielders congratulated him, even as the decibel-level in the packed stadium reached new highs.
It was not one of Tendulkar’s most swashbuckling innings, more about efficient accumulation early on, before slowing down further as he neared the century, finally completing it off 138 deliveries. Tendulkar’s achievement might have come against one of the weaker teams and in the league game of a low-key competition, but he still had to brave a raucous and partisan crowd. Once he reached the eighties, every dot ball he faced was loudly cheered. The Bangladeshi chant expressing displeasure, Bhua bhua, also rang out from sections of the stadium as he batted.
Barring a near stumping opportunity on 51, Tendulkar had been largely untroubled until he progressed closer to the milestone. Several times he had to scramble back after attempting a single on dropping the ball towards cover or midwicket, prompting delight from the fans. The pressure was further built up by a maiden from Mashrafe Mortaza when Tendulkar was on 83, and several well-struck shots didn’t beat the fielders. He was nearly run out soon after, trying to pinch a single to backward point.
A lofted drive over extra cover in the 40th over and several singles took him to 99, which was when the crowd began to support Tendulkar, standing up and cheering in anticipation. Though India were past 200 with only two wickets down, Bangladesh tried to stifle Tendulkar by keeping seven fielders in the circle. The single to square leg finally brought an end to the anxious wait for the 100th hundred, another mark of the longevity of the man who already has the most runs and has played the most matches in Tests and ODIs.