Sachin Tendulkar rewrote the history books for the umpteenth time in his astonishing career yesterday when he became the first player to score a one-day international double century. By steering the third ball of the final over of India's innings behind point and scampering a single to bring up the new benchmark in international 50-over cricket, the all-time leading run-scorer in both Test and ODI cricket cemented his position as arguably the greatest batsman of all time.
The Mumbai maestro, who stroked 25 majestic fours and cracked three sixes in his 147-ball knock, is now just seven centuries short of one hundred in international cricket. Given the imperious nature of his innings yesterday and the fact that 10 of his hundreds have arrived in the last 12 months, the 36-year-old clearly has the appetite to sign off his career at the highest level in fitting style.
Indeed, few seasoned India fans had seen him play better than he did yesterday against South Africa at Gwalior. "I don't know how to react," said the right-hander after the 153-run win. "I'd like to dedicate this double hundred to the people of India for standing behind me for the last 20 years throughout the ups and downs. "I was striking the ball well, the ball was coming on nicely. I felt that when I was 175-plus and it was the 42nd over I had a chance, but I wasn't actually thinking of it. It was only when I got closer to it that I thought about it.
"I have done the best I have for the team; there have been a few bad decisions I have made as a batsman, but I have always thought the best for the team. The body held up well during the knock." Inspired by Tendulkar, India racked up 401 for three and then dismissed the shell-shocked Proteas for 248. email@example.com