Proteas stand up to Sachin

2011-07-22 00:00

CAPE TOWN — As the world awaits Sachin Tendulkar’s milestone of 100 Test and one-day international centuries, South Africans can reflect on the fact the Proteas have got off relatively mildly for concession of tons — and runs — to the little maestro.

Tendulkar (38), showing no significant signs of decline or appetite, has struck 51 Test and 48 ODI centuries and has a chance to move off his combined total of 99 when England host India in the game’s 2 000th Test — fittingly at hallowed Lord’s — which started yesterday.

Such is Tendulkar’s global prowess, of course, that the Proteas have not always been able to contain the diminutive, ever-conscientious right-hander.

In one especially notable case of agony for the South African attack, he registered the first ever ODI double-century (200 not out) at Gwalior, India, in February last year.

Tendulkar faced 147 balls in his epic knock as India posted a monster 401 for three. Both Wayne Parnell and the world-class Dale Steyn came pretty close to conceding 100 runs each in their respective 10 overs, and the Proteas eventually lost by 153 runs.

And South Africa have certainly known about Tendulkar from as far back as 1991 when as a much-talked-about 18-year-old he struck 62 in South Africa’s famous return from isolation under Clive Rice in their maiden ODI at Kolkata.

Broadly speaking, though, Tendulkar has not prospered as much against the Proteas as he has against other leading powers.

In Test terms his averages tell you a lot: overall he averages 56,94 from 177 matches (14 692 runs) and that figure actually swells against both England (61,42 and seven centuries) and Australia (60,59 and 11 centuries).

But against South Africa he dips significantly, sporting a Test average of a more moderate 42,46 from 25 games, including seven tons.

He has fared surprisingly poorly against South Africa on Indian soil itself, with two centuries — back-to-back Tests in Nagpur and Kolkata in 2009/10 — and an average of 36,25 from 10 Tests.

Yet on South Africa’s livelier pitches he averages a sturdier 46,44 (15 Tests), including five three-figure scores.

Two of them have come at Newlands, including his career-best Test score against the Proteas of 169 in the 1996/97 encounter.

Many Cape Town-based enthusiasts and critics fondly recall this Test as one of the most pleasurable they have seen. It was both fast-moving and high-scoring, even if the hosts eventually won easily by 282 runs after an Indian second-innings collapse.

In the first knocks South Africa totalled a daunting 529 for seven declared and India were in a serious pickle at 58 for five in reply before Tendulkar and fellow-centurion Mohammad Azharuddin sparked a major revival with some particularly glorious stroke-play.

This the full list of Test centuries by Tendulkar against South Africa, from first to most recent: 111 at Johannesburg (1992/93), 169 at Cape Town (1996/97), 155 at Bloemfontein (2001/02), 100 at Nagpur (2009/10), 106 at Kolkata (2009/10), 111 not out at Centurion (2010/11) and 146 at Cape Town (2010/11).

When it comes to ODIs Tendulkar again comes up shorter against the Proteas. Of his 48 centuries just five have come against SA in 57 appearances, and his batting average stands at 35,73 which is some way down on his 45,16 overall.

He has played 68 ODIs against Australia — consistently the world’s strongest cricketing nation in the period embracing Tendulkar’s career thus far — and averages a much more swollen 46,33 with nine tons.

The icon, no doubt aided a fair bit by that previously mentioned double-century, averages 47,33 against SA in ODIs in India, while it plunges to 25,13 on SotuhAfrica’s pitches, with just one century (101 at the Wanderers in October 2001).

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