'One of my best' - Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar has rated his dazzling 141-ball 175 in the fifth one-dayer against Australia as "one of his best" innings. While orchestrating a stiff chase of 351, Tendulkar looked on course to break the record for the highest individual score in an ODI innings but was undone by a slower ball from debutant Clint McKay in the 48th over, after which India ended four runs short.
"It was one of my best innings, I was striking the ball very well and we were chasing 351 so there was constant pressure," Tendulkar said. "We maintained the run rate and brought the game close, but in the end it was very disappointing."
After sliding to 162 for 4, India were put back on track for what would have been the second highest target achieved in one-dayers by a 137-run stand between Tendulkar and Suresh Raina. India were favourites after 42 overs, needing only 52 runs with a Powerplay still in hand and Raina and Tendulkar in top gear. However, a combination of clever bowling and tigerish fielding from Australia, and some inept running from India handed the visitors a 3-2 series lead.
One bright spot for Tendulkar was that on 7, he became the first to reach the 17,000-run mark in one-dayers. When asked how he stayed motivated over the course of an international career which is days short of being two decades long, he said: "The passion - I care about playing for India. It's always been a dream and I'm absolutely honoured that I've been able to do that for the past 20 years."
Sourav Ganguly, with whom Tendulkar formed the most prolific opening partnership in one-dayers, lauded Tendulkar for reaching the milestone and hoped there was more to come. "It's really a remarkable achievement", Ganguly said. "I wish he scores another 2000 runs by 2011 World Cup. Sachin knows best how to accumulate runs. Once he gets going he becomes unstoppable."