Compiling a top five list from Sachin Tendulkar's 100 centuries is not easy. People will highly debate the ones you have missed when compiling the list, but everybody is entitled to their own choices and perspectives.
This list also records a few games which India lost although Sachin scored a ton, but brings up the situation in which Tendulkar attained them.
Tendulkar, to attain his 100th 100, scored a 114 against Bangladesh played in Mirpur, Bangladesh, where he ended his inning for 114 off 147 balls at a strike rate of 77.55, hitting 12 fours and one six before he was caught by Mushfiqur Rahim off the bowling of Mashrafe Mortaza.
Here are Sachin's top five international tons
241* vs. Australia (Sydney, 2004): India and Australia locked horns in Sydney for the fourth and final Test with the aim of deciding the series. The series was all square and India started the proceedings by batting first, and were given a good start by openers Virender Sehwag and Akash Chopra, who put on 123 runs together. However, both the batsmen departed in quick succession with score being 128 for two and Tendulkar entered the scene.
The little master was going through a horrible run of form in that series with just 82 runs from as many as five innings and the critics were on his back. However, Tendulkar decided to prove the age old saying form is temporary, class is permanent. Tendulkar wasted no time in taking on the then Australian pace trio that included Jason Gillespie, Brett Lee and Nathan Bracken, and also leg spinner Stuart MacGill.
With the help of veteran batsman VVS Laxman (178) on the other side, the duo recorded a 353 runs partnership for the fourth wicket and harassed the Australian attack for three continuous days. Later when captain Sourav Ganguly declared the Indian innings at 705 for seven, the master had remained not out on 241 after facing more than 400 deliveries and hitting 33 fours. He spent a total of 10 hours and 13 minutes on the pitch.
The 241 became his then highest first class score and his 32 century. He also went on to become only the fourth batsman to reach the 9000 runs quota. On the basis of the situation the team was when he came in to bat and the merciless Australian attack made the ton one of his very best. Tendulkar also made an unbeaten 60 in the second innings.
143 vs. Australia (Sharjah, 1998): Sachin's hundred this time was not enough to save India from a defeat against Australia in the final group stage game against Australia in the Coca Cola Cup, but it was definitely enough to ensure that his team qualified on a superior run rate for the finals of the tournament held in Sharjah, with New Zealand also becoming heavy contenders to enter the final.
The Australians, batting first, compiled a gigantic score of 284 for seven in 50 overs. However, the score was later altered to 276 from 46 overs following a dust storm and the qualification target became 237. However, this seemed like a mammoth target as India were reduced to 138 for four after 29 overs. But Tendulkar had other plans and he stayed at the pitch to see of India's qualification scares.
The Australian bowling line-up, that time, included the likes of Darren Fleming, Shane Warne and Michael Kasprowicz. Sachin, however, was not fazed and went on to score 143 from 131 balls, hitting nine fours and five sixes. The game ended with India scoring 250 runs for five wickets and going down to Australia for just 26 runs, but managing enough to qualify for the final, where it was Sachin show yet again who scored a very special 134 to lead India to a cup victory against Australia.
103* vs. England (Chennai, 2008): Tendulkar, before the game, was attacked by critics saying the master's tons have always come when the team has lost the game. However, Sachin answered his critics and helped India register a win against England, who had made 316. India, however, were all out for 241. Later, England again declared at 311 for nine on the fourth evening with centuries from Paul Collingwood and Andrew Strauss (his second of the game), and set a target of 387 runs for the home team.
Virender Sehwag gave the team a great start scoring 83 off just 68 balls, and with still a lot of work left to be done, Tendulkar entered the arena. When he came in, the team had 141 for two on board. Both Gautam Gambhir and VVS Laxman departed when it was 224 for four and the game became poised on both sides.
However, the little master, along with Yuvraj Singh, decided to take the game from there and posted a fifth wicket partnership of 163. While Tendulkar scored a patient 103 off 196 balls, Yuvraj also remained unbeaten with 85 to his name. Tendulkar hit the winning boundary to register the highest run chase in a test on an Asian pitch.
136 vs. Pakistan (Chennai, 1999): It was yet another India-Pakistan game that had gone down to the wires with India chasing a total of 271 runs in the second innings of the match. Although the home side had started the test by dismissing Pakistan for 238 in the first innings, the batting line of the Indians failed to click.
Likewise, in the second innings, India were struggling at 82 for five in the morning of the fourth day and the team now depended on Tendulkar for a win. The pitch was helping the ball turn and Pakistan spinners Shahid Afridi and Saqlain Mushtaq were making life miserable for the batsmen out in the middle, apart from the pace attack inflicted by Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis.
But the home team were inching towards the target slowly and Tendulkar, along with wicket-keeper batsman Nayan Mongia got the team past 200. Sachin at that time was battling back spasms but he decided to ignore the pain a go for the kill. The partnership that was worth 136 runs ended when Mongia departed for 52.
Tendulkar, struggling with his bodily discomfort, carried on and was now past his hundred. But Tendulkar got out when he was caught at mid off by Wasim Akram off Saqlain's bowling, and India went down by 12 runs. However, the loss would not judge the knock that Tendulkar had played that day for 405 minutes while struggling with pain.
200* vs. South Africa (Gwalior, 2010): Who better than the master himself could have attained such a feat in the cricketing world?
Battling the likes of Wayne Parnell, Dale Steyn, Jacques Kallis and Charl Langeveldt, Sachin went on to register score that had been just a dream for any batsman till that date. However, an interesting fact at that time was that Sachin was not among the favorites to score the first 200 in a one-day game (among the favorites were Adam Gilchrist, Shahid Afridi, Virender Sehwag and Chris Gayle).
It was a good toss to win for the home team and Tendulkar opened the Indian innings with Sehwag, who fell. Tendulkar now with a talented Dinesh Kartik amassed a second wicket partnership of 194 runs. Later the little master unleashed fury on the South African bowlers and murdered the pace attack and again registered a third wicket partnership of 81 off just 7.5 overs with Yusuf Pathan.
Tendulkar had now reached his hundred off just 90 balls and he went on to score another 150 off just 28 balls. By now the whole stadium was on the edge of its seat expecting a 200 from the master and the first one in the history of one-day international cricket.
Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni came in later and scored a quickfire 68 off just 35 balls and seemed to have eclipsed Sachin. But it was to Sachin's day nonetheless and he went past the record score of 194 with cramps setting in. After that, history was made when Sachin took a single from the third ball of the final over. He remained unbeaten with 200, facing 147 balls, hitting 25 fours and three sixes.