Donald reflects on battling the little master, and one brilliant ball

2013-11-14 00:00

BLOEMFONTEIN — Make sure that Sachin Tendulkar has to play at the first 20 deliveries you send down to him.

That was the advice former West Indian paceman Curtly Ambrose gave his South African counterpart Allan Donald some years ago in England when they faced the legendary Indian batsman.

“In my time, we did our homework against Tendulkar and had reasonably good results against him,” said Donald, who was known as “White Lightning” during his playing days.

He said the priority was not to bowl short deliveries to Tendulkar.

The “little master”, as the Indian legend is known, had the ability to get under the ball and severely punish the short ones.

Donald managed 10 times during his career to knock down the sought-after wicket of Tend­ulkar. This included five times in Test matches and five times in one-day fixtures.

The dream delivery with which he clean-bowled Tendulkar in the first Test at Kingsmead in 1996 was the best ball he ever bowled during an international match, Donald said.

The joy of that wicket introduced Donald’s famous aeroplane run, which became a trademark of his after he beat the small Indian batsman with a ball that cut away.

The ball took the off-stump out of the ground after it moved through the tiniest of openings between the bat and pads. Tendulkar later described the delivery as “a ball from hell”.

However, in the next Test at New­lands, the little master got his revenge with 169 runs.

Donald said that apart from all the milestones that Tendulkar had reached during his amazing career, his humility will always stand out.

“He always had time for each and every one — and I will always remember him for that.”

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