He had to work through an overwhelming deficit, he had to stifle and smother the charge of an hostile pace attack and he had to keep up his end as wickets tumbled around him. How in heaven's name did the Little Master manage to reach his 50th ton in Tests?
But almost as though in active meditation, Tendulkar remained calm as he fended off the bounce of Proteas quicks Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel and negotiated the spin of Harris. Several field revisions didn't succeed in fazing him either, even as an intimidating forward short leg was put into place.
On reaching his glowing new achievement, Tendulkar paid tribute to his late father, the main source of his inspiration and drive over the 21 years of his cricketing career. "The first thing obviously I thought of, was my father because I wanted to do it for him," he said. "Yesterday was his birthday, and I would like to dedicate this to him."
Asked how he keeps up a forceful streak at the crease, Sachin pointed to the fact that he was riding on his success and his love of the game. "Just been batting and enjoying. Sometime you are striking the ball really well and that is when you need to cash in as much as possible. I only try to do that. I felt that the last couple of years I have been moving well. Also the frame of mind. It's a habit, and once you build that habit, it's a good habit to carry on tours and back home in India as well."
Finally, confronted with the question whether he was actually in still in the game only due to the fact that he was on the verge of completing a whole host of records, Sachin reiterated that he merely enjoyed playing cricket and that was the sole force behind his drive to keep turning up for matches.
"I am playing for the love of it," he said. "If I was chasing records, I wouldn't have missed those one-day matches in between. I have had to pace myself. I thought I was not in top physical condition, and I needed some break and requested the board for the rest so I stay fresh. If I were chasing records, I wouldn't have done that. Its about producing quality cricket, and that's what I want to do."