Centuries are a magical figure in cricket and irrespective of the opponent, every single time a batsman reaches the sacred figures, it is not just a celebration of his overwhelming feat but it also sends an echo through the fabric of his team, who are desperately trying to cling on to the solitary glimmer of hope at times.
Those clenched fists pumping the air, those jubilant celebrations and at times, a reticent wave of the bat, just to acknowledge the herculean effort that one puts through in racking up the magic is symbolic on the 22 yards and off it too.
It becomes even more special when you are one of the youngest player of your side and you lay claim to this monumental feat. In fact, let’s say for example, you pull this stunt off at the hallowed Lord’s and snap up a milestone that even the greatest have failed to accomplish, that is nothing short of magic.
Talking about youngsters, we will take a quick look at five youngest Indian centurions in their glittering antiquity of Test cricket.
#1 Sachin Tendulkar – 17 years 107 days
Playing England in Manchester in 1990, Sachin Tendulkar finally made a lot of dreams come true and also blew life to the hopes surrounding him for a while as he racked up his first Test century at a tender age of 17 years and 107 days.
England posted a rollicking 519 in the first innings, thanks to the three centurions, Graham Gooch, Mike Atherton and Robin Smith. India fought back strongly, riding in a brilliant knock from their captain, Azharuddin. Sachin chimed in with an impeccable 68 alongside Manjrekar’s 93.
Once again after a brilliant display from England saw them posting a target of 408 for India. Manjrekar started on a categorical note with half-century. However, the man to introduce heavy artillery to the show was Tendulkar. He played an impeccable knock of 119 from 189 balls, smacking 17 boundaries in the process. India ended the match on a draw and it was one of India’s finest performances in Manchester.
#2 Prithvi Shaw – 18 years 329 days
A budding opener for India, who racked up decent performances in the Sri Lankan tour and the first instalment of IPL 2021, had to face the axe against Australia after questionable batting. However, he wrecked West Indies in 2018 in thunderous fashion as he hammered his way to a glorious 134 in the first innings of the match.
Almost every India batsman scored runs freely as Kohli and Jadeja snapped up centuries too while Pujara, Rahane and Pant blazed their way to the top.
An extraordinary showdown from Ashwin sealed the fate of the first innings as West Indies was bundled out for a paltry 181 while another masterclass from Kuldeep Yadav skittled out West Indies in the second.
#3 Kapil Dev – 20 years 18 days
Despite an all-round performance in the first innings, India couldn’t walk away with the bragging rights of the match as there wasn’t enough time left to skittle out West Indies.
Batting first at Delhi, India reigned supreme over the menacing fast bowlers of West Indies as Sunil Gavaskar and Chetan Chauhan played some ecstastic strokes to dampen the Caribbean spirits.
Partnering with Anshuman Gaekwad and Syed Kirmani, Kapil Dev conjured a brilliant 126 to help India register a monumental 566 in the first innings.
The Indian bowlers made quick work of their counterparts as Kapil Dev and Karsan Ghavri plundered 6 wickets between them to derail West Indies in the first innings. Sadly for the soaring Indians, Faoud Bacchus and Alvin Kallicharan stitched together a decent stand to put a spanner in India’s plans.
#4 Abbas Ali Baig – 20 years 124 days
One of the most glamorous cricketers to have starred for India who even achieved the feat of being kissed in the ground itself during an ongoing match, was also one of the youngest centurions for India in Test cricket.
Though for Indian fans it was a forgetful experience, thanks to some rollicking displays from Geoff Pullar, Colin Cowdrey, Mike Smith and Ken Barrington, India could only walk out of the wreckage with a couple of positives.
Chandu Borde was India’s solitary beacon of salvation in an otherwise marred display in the first innings while the second innings saw Ali Abbas Baig and Polly Umrigar stitching together a couple of explosive tons to take India to a respectable place but not close enough to England’s monumental title.
Baig powered a stellar knock of 112 runs that saw him smashing 12 boundaries and crafting a legacy for the upcoming generations.
#5 Madhav Apte – 20 years 137 days
Despite not being a heralding phenomenon in Indian cricket, Madhav Apte had his own shares of glory. His century against West Indies in 1959 was one of those rare moments of cricketing brilliance.
After middling efforts in the first innings from both the teams, it was Apte’s marathon knock in the second as he managed to garner 163 alongside Polly Umrigar’s 67 that propelled India to 362 before they declared.
West Indies saw out the remaining day’s play without much ado as Jeffrey Stolmeyer and Everton Weekes’ collective effort helped West Indies to elapse the day comfortably.