Super Sachin scripts India's stirring win

Super Sachin scripts India's stirring win

Mumbaikar slams unbeaten 200 as hosts win by 153 runs; clinch series

Super Sachin scripts India's stirring win

Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar reacts after scoring his double-century during the second one day cricket match between India and South Africa, in Gwalior. Tendulkar on Wednesday scored the first ever double-century in one-day international cricket.(AP) Another historic first from Sachin Tendulkar swept South Africa off their feet and consigned them to one of their most embarrassing limited-overs defeat on a momentous Wednesday.

The brightest jewel in India’s cricketing crown became the first double centurion in one-day international cricket at the Captain Roop Singh stadium, his unconquered double ton the massive millstone under which India interred the Proteas in the second one-day international.

Their comprehensive 153-run triumph not only gave India an insurmountable 2-0 lead in the three-match series but also helped them retain their number two status in the ICC one-day table, another feather in Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s already overcrowded cap.

Once India rode on Tendulkar’s unbeaten 200 (147b, 25x4, 3x6) to amass a gargantuan 401 for three, the match was over as a contest. Admittedly, South Africa have hunted down a bigger target – 434 at Johannesburg against Australia in 2006 – but their spirits shattered after the Tendulkar show, the Proteas keeled over for 248 despite a blazing unbeaten 114 (101b, 13x4, 2x6) by the stylish AB de Villiers.

This was Tendulkar at his subliminal best during an innings in which he seldom put a foot wrong. If the first part of his masterpiece was played in fourth gear, he went into overdrive upon bringing up his 46th one-day hundred. Increasingly, despite the occasional chance he opted to take, it was becoming apparent that it would need some massive indiscretion on his part not to maintain his tryst with destiny as the first double centurion in one-day cricket.

It didn’t take long for the capacity gathering at the ground, as well as the South Africans, to realise that the master was in the mood. India didn’t quite make the most of Dhoni winning his first toss in seven attempts as Virender Sehwag fell early, but that was about the only joy which came South Africa’s way the entire match.

The portents of what was to follow came early from South Africa’s perspective as JP Duminy and Charl Langeveldt both left the field to receive stitches, the former on the webbing of his left hand and the latter above and below his left eye after being pinged by a wickedly spinning ball in the infield.

India added insult to injury with an awe-inspiring batting display, Tendulkar the constant in three successive stands of differing proportions but equal battering intent. Tendulkar met his first three deliveries with the middle of the bat, precise in his footwork as he watched the ball like a hawk and quickly sussed up the pitch. Satisfied with what he saw, he began with consecutive boundaries off the hapless Parnell, one a silken drive, the other a wristy flick, and just kept rolling along. Dinesh Kaarthick was his first ally, sharing a second-wicket alliance of 194 (177b) dominated by Tendulkar, if not in its entirety, On a lovely batting deck, the two right-handers treated all-comers with casual disdain, the senior pro picking the gaps with practiced ease and his younger partner uncorking the big blows with impunity.

got him Yusuf Pathan and Suresh Raina celebrate the wicket of South Africa’s Jean-Paul Duminy on Wednesday. AFPIt was during his next stand, of 81 (47b) with Yusuf Pathan, that Tendulkar showed he can match the most fearsome strikers stroke for stroke. Indeed, the little man outscored the man renowned for his big hitting as he opened out after bringing up his hundred in 90 deliveries, taking just 57 balls to move from 100 to 200.

Only after Dhoni arrived in a blaze of boundaries did Tendulkar took his foot off the pedal, allowing the fresher man to do the damage. By the time Dhoni feasted on the remnants, the fourth-wicket pair had put on 101 (54b) to round off the entertainment which yielded 41 fours and 12 huge sixes. Hashim Amla began South Africa’s chase breezily, but with Herschelle Gibbs going cheaply and the top-order perishing in the desperate need for sustained pyrotechnics, the Proteas never really stood a chance at 134 for seven.

De Villiers saved some face and delayed the inevitable with a belligerent fifth one-day hundred, but long before then, Tendulkar had taken the Proteas out of the equation with a magical knock, a special compilation by a very special player.

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