New Delhi: Mumbai Indians vs Kochi Tuskers Kerala in the 2011 IPL should have been discussed for all the right reasons. There was an excellent exhibition of batting and of a fearlessness that defined the game. Sachin Tendulkar's first IPL and T20 hundred came in a trademark classy style and then Mahela Jayawardene and Brendon McCullum replied with a fearlessness that was imperative to lift the team after two straight losses.
But what was disappointing to see was the usual refrain about how the team loses when Tendulkar hits a century. In the last two years and despite the fact that he was instrumental in India lifting the World Cup, there has been this myth that seems to have been built around his hundreds.
While everyone eagerly waits for a big knock from Tendulkar, they are equally wary about the outcome of a game once he gets to the three-figure mark. And so it has become important to bust the myth and state the facts as they stand.
Sachin Tendulkar has hit 100 international hundreds with 51 coming in Test matches and 49 in one-day internationals. 53 of Tendulkar's 100 international hundreds have come in winning causes.
In Tests alone, 20 of Tendulkar's hundreds have come in winning causes, another 20 have come in games that have either been draws or no results, and only 11 have come in a losing cause. Of those 11 occasions, it was often Tendulkar who stood tall amongst the ruins. His 114 against Australia at Perth in 1991-92 series is considered to be among his finest hundreds. But with no support from the other end and Kiran More, who batted at No. 10 in that game, being the second top scorer with 43 there was no way India could have won the match.
In the second innings of the first Test against England at Edgbaston in 1996, it was Tendulkar again who scored a masterly 122 out of a total of 219 as Chris Lewis picked up a five-wicket haul to run through the Indian innings.
His third hundred in a losing cause came when he captained the team to South Africa in the 1996-97 series. Playing the New Year Test at Newlands, Cape Town and facing South Africa's mammoth first innings score of 529/7 declared, Tendulkar walked in at No. 5 with the team reeling at 33/4. It soon became 58/5 but the champion was undeterred. He smashed 169 in an innings that was studded with 24 boundaries. And for once he found support in Mohammad Azharuddin who scored an excellent 115. But once Azhar was run out after a 222-run stand, the others failed to keep their wickets. Tendulkar was the last man to be dismissed.
The 1998-99 season was surely the heartbreak year for the little master. His 177 against Australia in the Bangalore Test gave India a healthy total of 424, but with a second innings collapse India lost the Test by eight wickets. Then during the tour of New Zealand, Tendulkar scored 113 in the second innings of the Wellington Test, thereby giving India the chance to set the Kiwis a target of 213 that they chased down with four wickets to spare. A month later, Tendulkar - battling an immense back pain - hit 136 against Pakistan in the Chennai Test that India lost by an agonising 12 runs. Nayan Mongia (58) and Rahul Dravid (10) were the only other two batsmen to get to double figures in that match.
Again and again, it was Tendulkar who put up a fight. It was Tendulkar who fought till the last ball.
Seven of his eleven Test hundreds in losing causes came in the decade of the 90s. And as Team India turned over a new leaf and Tendulkar found support, his hundreds came in more and more winning causes. From 2001 to 2011, Tendulkar has hit 27 Test hundreds - 15 of which have come in winning causes.
In one-day internationals as well, 33 of Tendulkar's 48 hundreds have come in winning causes, while 13 have come in losing causes and two in matches that yielded no result.
His first five one-day hundreds, each against different opponents, all came in winning causes and it wasn't till the league game against Sri Lanka in Delhi during the 1996 World Cup that a hundred from Tendulkar's blade had gone in vain.
While his Test hundreds in 1998-99 ended up in losing causes, the champion - starting with that amazing 134 against Australia in Sharjah in 1998 - hit 11 of his next ODI hundreds in winning causes.
From 2001 to 2011, Tendulkar has hit 21 ODI hundreds and 12 of those have come in winning causes, while one came in the tied game against England in the World Cup. And again his hundreds in losing causes too came in games where the others failed the team.
Chasing 329 against Pakistan in Rawalpindi in 2003-04, Tendulkar hit 141 with extras coming in second best with 37. His next hundred, 123 vs Pakistan at Motera, Ahmedabad in 2004-05 helped India get to 315, but the bowlers failed to defend the target. And who can forget the 175 against Australia in Hyderabad where India lost by three runs chasing 350. In that game as well, the other batsmen barring Suresh Raina (59) failed to contribute and Tendulkar was once again the lone ranger.
In all, his 100 international hundreds have seen India home on 53 occasions, while 25 of them have come in losing causes and 22 have come in games that have been either drawn or tied or seen no results.