In the second ODI between India and South Africa that was played on February 24, 2010, home captain MS Dhoni smashed 68 runs off 35 balls, peppering the opposition bowlers with seven fours and four sixes. That was preceded by a sublime 79 off 85 balls by Dinesh Karthik and later in the night, AB de Villiers scored 114 off 101 balls for the visitors. His innings included 13 fours and two sixes.
On any other day, these stats would be the highlight of the match but in this case, they didn’t matter. Neither did India’s total of 401/3, their third highest at the time in ODIs and their margin of victory – 153 runs.
For on that day, in Gwalior, a 37-year-old Sachin Tendulkar, seemingly in the twilight of his career, broke a ceiling that was hitherto unscathed in ODI cricket, including in the time when the format involved a 60 overs a side game. He smashed 25 fours and three sixes to get to an unprecedented double ton off 147 balls. He ended that innings unbeaten on 200 and thus opened the gates that would later be crossed by his opening partner Virender Sehwag, Rohit Sharma (twice), Chris Gayle, Martin Guptill and most recently, Fakhar Zaman.
Tendulkar’s was an innings of high quality but one shot, in particular, could be singled out to characterise his genius. It was the 35th over – the first of the batting powerplay – and Tendulkar was pummelling the Proteas. The visitors called upon their best, Dale Steyn, to silence him and the pacer fired three deliveries at yorker length outside off. Two of those were dots and for the third, Tendulkar walked across and almost nonchalantly flicked it to find the gap between midwicket and square leg. Steyn could do nothing more than watch the ball race to the boundary, shrug and walk back to the start of his run-up.
#ThisDayThatYear In 2010 @sachin_rt Scored 200 Runs From 147 Balls With 25 Fours And 2 Sixes Against SA At Gwalior.@sachin_rt Is the First Cricketer to score Double century in ODI Cricket.
It was his 46th ODI Century And 93rd Overall Century. pic.twitter.com/16iSd63kyl
— 🔥சர்கார் ஷா😎 (@ShaMahadev) 24 February 2019
His ageing body began to catch up once he crossed into the 180s and with Dhoni firing away at the other end, Tendulkar resigned himself to taking singles and holding up the other end. In the 46th over, he crossed 194, thus breaking the record for highest individual ODI score that was previously held by Pakistan’s Saeed Anwar and Zimbabwe’s Charles Coventry.
Finally, on the third ball of the last over, Tendulkar steered Charl Langeveldt behind point to take the decisive single and raised his bat to the rapturous applause from the crowd in Gwalior.
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