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Sachin Tendulkar (above) scored 59 runs and shared a crucial 143-run stand with Sanjay Manjrekar (76) in the first innings © Getty Images

On November 24, 1989 Sachin Tendulkar, at the age of 16 became the youngest to score a Test fifty during the Faisalabad Test against Pakistan. Nishad Pai Vaidya recounts the first of many remarkable innings of the Little Master in international cricket.
 
 

“I was nervous and didn’t know what was going on around me. I thought it was a school game going on and I batted as if it was one. I can never forget that moment as I felt that was the first and the last Test match of my career.” Sachin Tendulkar on his first Test in an interview with ESPN.

 
Facing the might of Waqar Younis, Wasim Akram and Imran Khan at the tender age of 16 is no joke and Sachin Tendulkar felt the heat during his first Test innings at Karachi. The teenager had scored tons of runs in domestic cricket, which included a ton on Ranji Trophy debut and the Irani Trophy. However, the searing pace made international cricket a different ball game and Tendulkar was bowled by Waqar for 15 on his maiden outing. The teenager was disappointed, but determined to make a mark in the next Test.
 
On November 23, 1989, the second Test between India and Pakistan began at Faisalabad, the hosts won the toss and elected to bowlwith an aim to bundle the Indians out quickly. Openers Krishnamachari Srikkanth and Navjot Singh Sidhu got India off to a decent start as they put up 68 on the board. But, one couldn’t keep the Pakistan pacers out of the game for too long as Wasim snared Srikkanth, Sidhu and Mohammad Azharuddin in no time. Saleem Jaffer then dismissed Ravi Shastri as India were reduced to 101 for four. In walked the young Tendulkar to partner Sanjay Manjrekar.
 
Tackling Imran, Wasim, Jaffer and Naved Anjum, Tendulkar showed great resolve and patience in staying at the crease. If many felt he looked in a hurry during his first Test innings, he was to show a different side to his game in the second. The naturally free stroking batsman tempered his approach in the company of a cool-headed Manjrekar — who was in the midst of a memorable run on that tour.
 
Building the innings run by run, Tendulkar and Manjrekar took India to 200 for four at the end of day’s play and they had done remarkably well to keep Pakistan at bay. Manjrekar finished the day on 58 and Tendulkar was unbeaten on 35.
 
As November 24 donned over Faisalabad, Tendulkar may have felt that here was his chance to make his first mark in international cricket. For someone so young, he had shown great temperament and the experience on Day One would have calmed his nerves after the rude awakening at Karachi. Manjrekar and Tendulkar resumed their battle with India’s hopes pinned on these young batsmen.
 
The duo completed its patient century stand and added 42 more runs to the tally. Tendulkar scored 24 more on the second morning and got to his first Test half-century. It would have been a huge relief for the young man as any doubts would have been dispelled. The fact that he had batted long, wading through the difficulties and emerging victorious would have given him tremendous confidence. Although, his innings was crucial from a team’s perspective, it was equally pivotal for him personally. In hindsight, one realises its true value as Tendulkar not only fought the bowlers, but also his inner demons. With those vanquished, he set his sights on bigger things in the future.
 
However, Tendulkar fell after scoring 59 and the determined 143-run stand came to an end as he was trapped leg-before by Imran. For his 59, he had faced 172 deliveries and had hit only four boundaries. Manjrekar fell soon after for 76 and India were shot out for 288. Pakistan then declared at 423 for nine with opener Aamer Malik scoring 117. Facing the huge deficit, India fought harder in the second essay with Manjrekar’s 83 and Azharuddin’s 109. Tendulkar was run-out for eight, but India managed to steer the ship to safety as they finished the game at 398 for seven.
 
 
What followed?
 

  • Tendulkar continued to impress on the tour. The defining moment came during the fourth Test at Sialkot when he was hit on the nose by Waqar. He wiped off the blood and continued to bat to help India save the game. And then, he famously hit Abdul Qadir for four sixes in an over during a one-day exhibition game.

 

  • Although India were challenged for a major part of the Test series, they managed to fight it out and draw all the four matches. Manjrekar was the star with 569 runs in the four matches which included a double century and a ton.

 

Brief scores:
 
India 288 (Sanjay Manjrekar 76, Sachin Tendulkar 59; Imran Khan 4 for 45, Wasim Akran 3 for 107) and 398 for 7 (Navjot Singh Sidhu 51, Sanjay Manjrekar 83, Mohammad Azharuddin 109, Manoj Prabhakar 54; Wasim Akram 2 for 86, Naved Anjum 2 for 92) drew with Pakistan 423 for 9 decl. (Aamir Malik 117, Saleem Malik 63, Rameez Raja 58; Manoj Prabhakar 6 for 132, Kapil Dev 3 for 106).
 
Man of the Match: Sanjay Manjrekar
 
(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)