August 14: Bradman Ends, Tendulkar Begins
Two of the most significant events in cricketing history took place on this date – August 14.
First, we go back to Ashes 1948. Australia, with an unassailable 3-0 lead, dismissed England for a partly 52 on the opening day of the fifth Test. The visiting opening pair of Sid Barnes and Arthur Morris added 117 before the former is dismissed by leg-spinner Eric Hollies.
Don Bradman walked out to bat for the final time in his Test career, amidst a huge applause from the crowd and the English team taking their caps off in honour of the great. After defending his first, much to the shock of many, Bradman was cleaned up by a googly on the next ball.
His batting average, which read a phenomenal 101.39 prior to the innings, dropped to 99.94. Though Australia won the Test comprehensively, Bradman finished just four short of 7,000 runs.
The 'Don' may have failed to finish with a three-figure average, it does not defer people from regarding him as the greatest batsman in the history of the game.
Fast-forward 42 years, we head 330-plus kilometers to Old Trafford. After setting a massive target of 408 runs in the final innings, the hosts were gunning to bowl India out on the final day to cement a series win, having already won the first Test. After dismissing the openers Navjot Singh Sidhu(0) and Ravi Shastri(12), Sanjay Manjrekar and Dilip Vengsarkar steadied the ship.
However, the duo fell in quick succession, bringing in captain Mohammad Azharuddin and 17-year-old Sachin Tendulkar to the crease. While the skipper departed after two boundaries, Kapil Dev held fort along with the youngster and strung together a 50-plus stand for the sixth wicket. But Eddie Hemmings managed to breach the defence of the all-rounder, and India starred at a massive task of saving the Test.
The script however did not pan out as per the wishes of the home side. Manoj Prabhakar and Tendulkar batted through the day to claim a famous draw. While the former scored a half-century, the Bombay batsman went on to register his first Test century, in doing so, becoming the second youngest player to register a Test century (119). Tendulkar showed maturity beyond his years, batting for more than three hours 224 minutes and 189 deliveries.
Tendulkar would go on to add another incredible 99 centuries over the next 23 years, finishing as one of the most prolific batsmen in the game’s history.