Sachin Tendulkar has notched up his 43rd hundred in ODIs. Not a new sight for avid fans of the little master! He not only made an effortless ton, but also brought up his third 150-plus score. The last one was scored against Namibia in Pietermaritzburg in the 2003 WC.
India was not off to a flying start, losing Sehwag very early. Gambhir joined Tendulkar and I thought it would be the ideal situation. Soon Gambhir departed! Then, in a spot of bother, Sachin was joined by the flamboyant Yuvraj.
Their partnership and then the big hitting of Dhoni and Raina, helped India make a mammoth 392.
Tendulkar, unfortunately, had to retire today. If he had played the remaining five overs, he could have made a double hundred (I am not over optimistic I guess!). Today's 163, studded with 16 fours and five sixes, was right up there because of his shot selections and the way he went about his innings.
He reached his hundred in 101 balls, and then accelerated his game. He played 133 balls before retiring (I was very disappointed with that!), which clearly shows how aggressive he had been post 100.
He got his 57th Man of the Match award, and that is by far the highest. For the record, Sir Viv Richards had 31 awards from 187 matches, which is one in six matches!
I had written earlier in my first article that this series could decide Tendulkar's future in ODIs and I think he has answered me yet again with another sublime knock.
His 20 in the first match was rusty and he was very cautious. Last game he started slowly, and then displayed his true instinct. Today, he has stamped his authority on the game and once again proved why he is the greatest ODI cricketer.
Thank you Sachin Tendulkar for another masterpiece and I sincerely hope I get to watch many more of these.