One of the greatest anomalies about the Lord’s Honours Boards is the absence from them of one of cricket’s greatest ever batsmen.
In five Test appearances at Lord’s, Sachin Tendulkar never got past 37 and his average of 21.66 does scant justice to his huge talent and vast record of achievement elsewhere. But the great Indian master did have his moments at the Home of Cricket, and one of the sweetest was surely the Princess of Wales Memorial Match in 1998. It was a match with a dual purpose: to honour another of the game’s greats – W.G. Grace – on the 150th anniversary of his birth, and to raise funds for the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, set up following her death in Paris the previous year. The action was streamed live on the Lord’s website with commentary from Jonathan Agnew and Peter Baxter.
Tendulkar captained a Rest of the World XI which took on MCC in a game involving players from all nine Test-playing countries at the time. He and MCC captain Mike Atherton tossed up using an 1848 florin; a coin minted in the year of Grace’s birth, before MCC made a total of 261 for 4 from 50 overs. It seemed a creditable total, but Tendulkar made it look paltry, stroking his way to 125 from 114 balls in a dazzling display that included 15 fours and four sixes. He put on 177 with Aravinda de Silva against an attack including Glenn McGrath, Allan Donald, Javagal Srinath and Anil Kumble. By the time Kumble bowled him, victory for Rest of the World was assured. A flurry of boundaries from de Silva and Graeme Hick saw them home by six wickets with more than six overs to spare.