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Tendulkar scores first-ever one-day double century

Published:Thursday | February 25, 2010 | 12:00 AM

GWALIOR, India (AP):

Sachin Tendulkar scored the first-ever double century in one-day international cricket with a flawless flaying of South Africa at Roop Singh Stadium yesterday, helping India seal the three-match series with a game to spare.

Tendulkar finished on 200 not out in eclipsing the previous highest score of 194, jointly made by Zimbabwe's Charles Coventry against Bangladesh in Bulawayo last August and Pakistan's Saeed Anwar against India at Chennai in May 1997.

Tendulkar carried his bat through all 50 overs, reaching the landmark in the last over off 147 deliveries to help India amass 401-3 and win by 153 runs.

South Africa, who lost the first match by one run, were all out for 248 in the 43rd over despite a fighting unbeaten 114 by AB de Villiers.

The nearly 30,000 in the partisan crowd went delirious as Tendulkar surpassed the previous highest score in one-dayers with two off fast bowler Wayne Parnell behind short fine leg in the 46th over.

Tendulkar's previous best was 186 not out against New Zealand at Hyderabad in November 1999.

He saved his biggest reaction for becoming the first man to 200, with a single off Charl Langeveldt with three balls left. He took off his helmet, raised it and his bat and savoured the prolonged standing ovation from the crowd and both teams.

The 36-year-old dedicated his latest achievement to the "people of India who have stood behind me for 20 years whatever be the ups and downs".

Enjoyed batting

He said he enjoyed batting as the ball was coming nicely on to the bat.

"When I was on 175-plus and only 42 overs bowled, I thought there was a chance" to score a double century, he said.

"But I wasn't thinking of it. Only when I got close to it, I really thought there is an opportunity."

Asked whether bowlers could expect some respite after his two decades in the game, Tendulkar said: "I am enjoying my cricket. I have always played the way I felt the right way to play and always done what I felt was good for the team."

To another question how his body was coping, he said: "I feel good that I lasted for 50 overs. A good test of my fitness.

Future hopes

"I would like to bat another 50 overs at some stage and see that the fitness level doesn't drop."

Tendulkar plundered runs from the Proteas almost at will with some dazzling cover drives and pull shots. He'd pick up deliveries from outside the off stump and hit them over mid-on. He smashed 25 boundaries and three sixes.

South African captain Jacques Kallis lauded Tendulkar and lamented his side.

"It was a fantastic knock. He took advantage of conditions," Kallis said. "We lost wickets at crucial stages. We have to work on basics." The third match is on Saturday at Ahmedabad.