Gwalior: Take it or not, but if there is God on Earth then that’s Sachin. February 24, 2010 will be the day when world will remember the maestro for belying human mortality. And to do all that, it just took 147 balls.
The capacity crowd at the Captain Roop Singh Stadium witnessed history today 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).
As the crowd erupted with unbridled joy, Tendulkar, tired but composed, took off his helmet, looked skyward, closed his eyes to offer a silent prayer.
His captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni came down from the striker`s end to shake hands and hug him.
And as Tendulkar set on his way back to the pavilion after the completion of the Indian innings, a tumultuous celebration greeted him.
The crowd gave him a standing ovation as the entire stadium erupted in euphoria while his teammates were simply ecstatic as they clapped and hugged each other, basking in the glory of their senior teammates. Tendulkar batted like a man with a mission today and the South African bowlers simply had no clue where to bowl.
Once he crossed the 150-mark, the crowd anticipated something special and Tendulkar did not let them down.
A six off Roelof van der Merwe took him past Kapil Dev`s 175 not out and in the next over, he hit Jacques Kallis for a four to equal his previous best of 186 not out that had come against New Zealand in Hyderabad in 1999.
The crowd got restless as Tendulkar approached the 194-run mark and a couple off Wayne Parnell saw him eclipse it.
His teammates and spectators were on the edge of their seat with a double century round the corner but with Dhoni going berserk at the striker`s end and facing most of the deliveries, it was an agonising wait for all.
Dhoni took singles off the final deliveries of the 47th-49th overs and Tendulkar finally took strike with four balls left in the innings.
The first ball he received from Langeveldt was steered past point and Tendulkar ran for a single to remain unbeaten after an unforgettable unbeaten 200 that came off just 147
balls with 25 fours and three sixes in it.
It was yet another milestone for the man, who has some 30,000 international runs under his belt, including 93 centuries (47 in Tests and 46 in ODIs).