Sachin Tendulkar could do almost anything on a cricket field. Tendulkar helped India win many a game with his batting, but he was a handy part-time bowler too. Tendlukar, who has 200 international wickets in his kitty, could provide the breakthrough with his combination of medium-pace and spin bowling. As the legend turns 50 on Monday, Onmanorama picks his top five bowling performances.
1. 0/3 versus South Africa, Kolkata, 1993 Hero Cup semifinals
In front of a packed Eden Gardens, Tendulkar had just five runs to defend when Mohammed Azharuddin entrusted him with the final over of the pulsating contest. Vijay Yadav had suggested Azharuddin to hand over the ball to Tendulkar as the wicketkeeper reckoned his slow balls will be tough to score off.
South African all-rounder Brian McMillan could take only a single off the first ball as his partner Fannie de Villiers was run out while going for a non-existent second run. Last-man Allan Donald struggled against the wily Tendulkar and could get a single only off the fourth ball he faced. That meant McMillan had to hit a four off the final ball to take the Proteas home. However, he could manage only a single as Tendulkar and India celebrated.
2. 5/32 versus Australia, First ODI, Pepsi Triangular Series, Kochi, 1998
The Kochi crowd felt disappointed when Tendulkar fell for just eight in the first international match at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. However, a century by Ajay Jadeja and fifties by Azharuddin and Hrishikesh Kanitkar powered India to 309/5.
The tourists were in control at 203/3 in the 32nd over when Tendulkar foxed Australian captain Steve Waugh to hit one straight back at him. Thereafter the Aussies had no clue to the leg-spin magic of the genius. Michael Bevan, Darren Lehmann, Damien Martin and Tom Moody too followed suit as Tendulkar ended up with match-winning figures of 5/32 from his 10 overs. India won by a comfortable margin of 41 runs and Tendulkar was declared man of the match.
3. 5/50, versus Pakistan, First ODI, Kochi, 2005
Tendulkar again could not fire with the bat as he was sent back by Naved-ul-Hasan for four in the second over of the match. Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid smashed hundreds to power India to 281/8. Pakistan were struggling at 112/4 in the 26th over when Tendulkar castled skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq for 37 and with it went their hope of mounting a comeback. Tendulkar registered his second five-wicket haul in ODIs as the home side emerged winners by 87 runs.
4. 3/31 versus Australia, Kolkata Test, 2001
This match is best remembered for V V S Laxman's majestic 281 and his 376-run stand with Dravid for the the fifth wicket after Steve Waugh enforced the follow-on. Tendulkar fell for 10 in both innings, but the maestro did his bit with the ball on the final day with his leg-spinners. He removed a well-set Matthew Hayden for 67 and also accounted for Adam Gilchrist and Shane Warne. Harbhajan Singh claimed 6/73 as India scored a famous win to end Australia's 16-Test winning streak.
5. 2/36 versus Australia, Adelaide Test, 2003
This was another match in which Tendulkar contributed to India's success more with his bowling than batting. Dravid's epic 233 and Lxaman's 148 meant India conceded only a 33-run first innings lead after Australia amassed 556.
Tendulkar scalped Damien Martyn and Steve Waugh to hand India the advantage on the fourth day. Both the batsmen edged to Dravid in the first slip as Australia were bundled out for 196 in the second innings with Ajit Agarkar picking up 6/41. Dravid again was the star with the bat as his unbeaten 72 took India home on the final day.