Sachin Tendulkar rewrote history by smashing the first double ton in one-dayers as India crushed South Africa by 153 runs in the second ODI.
And with this victory India clinched the three-match series with one game to spare.
Tendulkar (200 not out) became the first batsman in the four-decade history of ODI to hammer a double century as India piled on a mammoth 401 for three and then skittled out South Africa for 248 in 42.5 overs for a facile win.
With this victory, India not only took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series and rendered Saturday’s third and final match in Ahmadabad inconsequential but also ensured there was no threat to their status as the number two ODI side in the world.
For them, Dinesh Karthik (79 off 85 balls), Mahendra Singh Dhoni (68 not out off 35 balls) and Yusuf Pathan (36 off 23 balls) starred with the bat but the day belonged to Tendulkar.
Everything else paled in comparison to Tendulkar’s epic 147-ball blistering knock, studded with 25 fours and three sixes, as the master blaster treated the capacity crowd at the Captain Roop Singh stadium to a stunning exhibition of strokeplay.
It was not only Tendulkar’s 46th ODI century but also the highest score in one-dayers, eclipsing the previous record of 194 which was held jointly by Pakistan’s Saeed Anwar and Zimbabwe’s Charles Conventry.
Charl Langeveldt went into the history books as Tendulkar steered the pacer to the off side to get to the magical figure as the packed stadium went into a frenzy.
Tendulkar’s previous best was an unbeaten 186 against New Zealand made at Hyderabad in 1999.
South Africa’s mammoth chase looked doomed as Praveen Kumar cheaply castled swashbuckling opener Herschelle Gibbs (7) in the third over.
S Sreesanth (3/49) removed Roelof van der Merwe (12) with his fourth delivery and returned to see the back of in-form Hashim Amla (34 off 22 balls).
Ashish Nehra got the better of Jacques Kallis (11) in his second spell and by the 23rd over, South Africa were gasping for breath at 134 for seven.
AB de Villiers (114 not out) showed the kind of defiance not seen in his teammates as he hit his fifth ODI century. He added 77 runs with Wayne Parnell (18) to delay the inevitable but South Africa’s defeat was just a matter of time by then.
De Villier’s unbeaten 101-ball knock had 13 fours and two sixes in it.
It all, however, was reduced to a footnote as Tendulkar made history.
During his unforgettable knock, Tendulkar rattled up a record 194-run second-wicket partnership with Dinesh Karthik, who recorded his career best 79 off 85 balls with the help of four fours and three six.
They bettered the earlier Indian record of 181 runs that Tendulkar had put together with Rahul Dravid against the same opposition at Nagpur in 2000.
It was Tendulkar all over as he also shared quick and big partnerships with Pathan and skipper Dhoni to pile the agony on the South Africans.
With Pathan he added 81 runs for the third wicket, which ended when the Baroda all-rounder fell to Roelf van der Merwe.
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Pathan played his own aggressive brand of game and was ruthless against Parnell, hitting the left-armer for two sixes and a four in the 38th over.
Then for the fourth wicket, Tendulkar and Dhoni raised an unbeaten 101-run stand, which took India to its highest score against South Africa.
Earlier, Wayne Parnell had cut short Virender Sehwag‘s (9) stay but once Karthik joined Tendulkar in the middle, India were always in charge.
India: Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Dinesh Karthik, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni (C) (W), Suresh Raina, Yusuf Pathan, Ravindra Jadeja, Praveen Kumar, Ashish Nehra, Sreesanth
South Africa: Hashim Amla, Herschelle Gibbs, Jacques Kallis (C), AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Alviro Petersen, Mark Boucher (W), Wayne Parnell, Roelof van der Merwe, Dale Steyn, Charl Langeveldt