Sachin Tendulkar has become the first cricketer to make a double-hundred in the 39 years of one-day international cricket.
The blazing innings comes 10 months after his 36th birthday and four years after he was booed off his home ground in Mumbai, with his career apparently in terminal decline. Somewhat improbably given todays innings, the abuse had been for slow scoring.
Tendulkar ended Indias second one-day game against South Africa unbeaten on exactly 200, after 147 balls of beautiful destruction. He relied on finesse as much as force, hitting only three sixes to go with 25 fours.India reached 401 for three in 50 overs under Gwaliors floodlights, against one of the strongest attacks in the world.In reply, South Africas batsmen began in similarly punchy mood but were soon overwhelmed by an asking rate of eight an over.
Despite a run-a-ball century from AB de Villiers they lost by 153 runs, their second-heaviest one-day defeat.
Tendulkar sailed passed the previous world-record score – the 194 set by Pakistans Saeed Anwar against India in 1996-97, which was matched in 2009 by Zimbabwes Charles Coventry against a weak Bangladesh side. However, when MS Dhoni stole the strike for the last over and then hoisted the first ball for six it seemed Tendulkar could end marooned on a bittersweet 199.