In India nothing is bigger than Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. And today he showed just why.
He stops everything for couple of minutes...heart, breath, work...even the life...but at last Milestone man Sachin Tendulkar rewrote the record books today, hammering the first double century in the history of one-day cricket to add another feather to his maestro cap.
The crowd at the Captain Roop Singh Stadium, Gwalior witnessed history on Wednesday as Tendulkar, statistically the greatest batsman the game has ever seen, pushed a Charl Langeveldt delivery through the off-side and ran a single to achieve a feat which no other cricketer has achieved.
One Day International cricket, since its 1971 inception, had to wait nearly four decades to see a batsman score 200. The previous best mark was shared by Zimbabwean Charles Coventry (194 not out) and Pakistan’s Saeed Anwar (194).
The little master was on fire and the South African bowlers bore the brunt as they were literally made to bleed runs at the short ground. His sublime unbeaten 200 came off just 147 balls and was bejeweled with 25 fours and three sixes.
He was walking on a pitch freely, timing the ball sweetly. He was not hitting the ball so hard just stick to the basics - timing and placement.
He went past Kapil Dev's 175 with a towering six over long-on. He equalled his highest score of 186 with a pull to fine leg, before Dhoni took over.
In the 46th over, with a flick for two past short fine-leg, Tendulkar broke the record for the highest ODI score, going past the 194 made by Zimbabwe's Charles Coventry and Pakistan's Saeed Anwar, and to say that he acknowledged his feat modestly would be an understatement. He didn't raise his bat, merely shook hands with Mark Boucher and simply carried on batting.
Sachin Tendulkar chose arguably the best bowling attack doing the rounds, to eclipse the record for the highest score ever before bringing up the first ever double-hundred in the game's history.
Although in the end Sachin stays at 199 for 10 balls. The whole nation was holding his breath.Indian skipper MS Dhoni hit the form of his life at the other end.
Tendulkar just one short of his double century had two overs to reach the milestone when suddenly Dhoni started taking apart Dale Steyn. As balls disappeared into distant corners of the Captain Roop Singh stadium, the whole nation for the first time perhaps in history, didn't want any big hits from the Indian skipper's bat.
Dhoni bludgeoned Steyn in the penultimate over to reach his fifty in just 29 balls. But India had never been less appreciative. The country didn't want sixes. They wanted history to be made. To make matters worse, Dhoni took a single off the last ball.Six balls to go. Dhoni on strike. Tendulkar still on 199. Charl Langeveldt runs in and the whole nation chants for a single. But Dhoni smashes it for a huge six. Never has there been such a subdued response in India.
Hearts started beating louder but Dhoni connects another cleanly. Another sureshot boundary but a diving Hashim Amla stops the ball and Tendulkar shouts loud - NO - to a second run. The whole stadium erupts. First for Amla. Then for Tendulkar.
Again Sachin batting on 199...3rd ball of 50th over..
Langeveldt to Tendullkar, he pushed a delivery through the off-side and ran a single to achieve a feat which no other cricketer has achieved, first double-hundred in ODIs, takes off his helmet and waves to the crowd, which is on its feet, so are his team-mates in the dressing room, a fan's blowing a conch.
Some graceful moments of Sachin's inning :