ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features

11th Match: India v England

Tendulkar masterclass ignites Bangalore

ESPNcricinfo staff

February 27, 2011

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Sachin Tendulkar lifts the ball for a six on his way to a fifty off 66 balls, India v England, World Cup, Group B, Bangalore, February 27, 2011
Sachin Tendulkar: peerless © Getty Images
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Sachin Tendulkar produced the performance that every man in his nation had prayed was in his grasp, as he launched the home leg of India's World Cup campaign with a towering display against England at Bangalore. On a sporty wicket that offered assistance to the bowlers but value for every stroke, his innings of 120 from 115 balls stood supreme. It was his 47th ODI century, and his fifth in six World Cup campaigns.

Even by Tendulkar's matchless standards, his was a vintage performance, and a masterful example of how to pace an innings. He was a casual bystander during the opening overs with Virender Sehwag, but he picked up his tempo throughout a second-wicket stand of 134 with Gautam Gambhir, without ever needing to take risks to make his mark. The high point of his innings came when he belted consecutive sixes at the start of Graeme Swann's second spell, a calculated show of class that undermined England's trump bowler, and left Andrew Strauss floundering for alternatives as his tactics were picked apart.

In all Tendulkar stroked 10 fours and five sixes in what was, somewhat curiously, his first one-day hundred against England for nine years. By the time he was dismissed with 11 overs of the innings remaining, caught off a leading edge at cover, India's total stood at an imposing 236 for 3, and it was a measure both of Tendulkar's brilliance and of England's dogged refusal to give in, that Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni were unable to cut loose to quite the extent they might have expected.

Tendulkar had reached 28 from 47 balls before he signalled to the dressing room that it was time for a heavier bat, and having belted Swann back over his head for four, he turned his attentions to the offcutters of Paul Collingwood, who joined the attack as England's fifth bowler in the 18th over of the innings, and was cracked for two Tendulkar sixes in the space of three overs.

If that got the crowd's juices flowing, then Tendulkar's double whammy against Swann - a pair of massive mows over the leg-side - tipped the entire stadium into ecstasy. He followed up with a sweet uppercut off Shahzad, teasing third man who had been dragged too fine in the previous over, and then further denuded Anderson's figures with consecutive off-side fours - the first of which was a trademark turf-scorching cover-drive.

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