Bangalore, Apr 24: As Sachin Tendulkar celebrates his 39th birthday in Mohali on Tuesday, let us travel 14 years back when the Little Master destroyed Australian bowlers on his 25th birthday in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.
[Scorecard: India Vs Australia, April 24, 1998, Sharjah]
Not many sportspersons get a chance to celebrate in a big way on the field, on their birthdays. But Tendulkar, the modern day great, made it a memorable one on April 24, 1998.
It was the Coca Cola Cup tri-series final and two days prior to his 25th birthday, Tendulkar had produced a magical 143 against Steve Waugh's men to take India to the final, for a repeat clash against Australia.
The final at the Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium, saw Australia batting first and posting 272/9 in 50 overs.
India, under the captaincy of Mohammad Azharuddin, began the chase with Sourav Ganguly and Tendulkar.
After a slow start, India lost Ganguly in the ninth over with the team score on 39. India opted to send wicketkeeper Nayan Mongia as a pinch-hitter to join Tendulkar. Mongia contributed 28 and later Azharuddin made 58, but Tendulkar stood tall to guide India to six-wicket victory.
It was Tendulkar show in Sharjah as he hammered Australian bowlers all over the ground. Legspinner Shane Warne was also not spared. He went wicketless for 61 in 10 overs.
On the same day, Australian paceman Damien Fleming was on his 28th birthday. But there were no gifts on offer from the Indian batsmen or Tendulkar. While one player had a memorable birthday, the other had endured a tough day on the field.
Tendulkar was in full flow at the crease. Every Australian bowler was made to look ordinary on that night. As many as 14 boundaries and 3 sixes gushed out of Tendulkar's willow. His 131-ball 134 took India to the trophy. This was Tendulkar's second successive hundred and 15th in ODI career. Since that night, Tendulkar has added 34 more tons in the 50-over format. Even today, this knock is rate highly among his best ODI hundreds.
This year, he won't have a chance to play on his birthday. Huge relief for the bowlers!