It was a hazy morning in Gwalior, and South African spirits were not that high after the 1-run loss in the first ODI against India. However, little did Jaques Kallis, standing in as captain for South Africa know, how crucial winning the toss would be for his side. As MS Dhoni won the toss for India, and elected to bat, out came the Indian duo of Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar. Sachin started out well, and had hit 15 runs off 10 when Sehwag who started out uncharacteristically slow, was caught in the fourth over cheaply for 9 off of 15 deliveries. Dinesh Karthik came out to bat, and Sachin kept going putting on runs and scored his half century with a four in the 12th over off of 37 deliveries. Karthik settled down, and scored his 50 (off 59 deliveries) in the 25th over as Sachin reached the 90s and India kept piling the runs easily at 6.25-6.5 runs an over. Sachin got to his 46th ODI and 93rd overall century on the last ball of the 28th over with a single, and then let loose hitting two boundaries in the next over off of Kallis. India kept scoring well off of the next few overs before Karthik got out to Parnell after hitting 79 runs and sharing a 194 run partnership for the second wicket along with Sachin. Out came Pathan, and India took their batting power play in the 35th over as Sachin showed no signs of stopping the on-slaught. Pathan joined the party and hit a couple of huge sixes on the leg side as Sachin hit a four to get to the 150 mark in the 38th over. However, the came from Pathan lasted till the 42nd over when he got out for 36 off 23 deliveries. Out came the Indian captain with Sachin on 168 and showing signs of cramping but not opting for a runner. Sachin hit another huge boundary and a six off the last two deliveries of the 42nd over racing to 179 with 8 overs to go. With signs of cramping, most of the strike was held by Dhoni as Tendulkar slowly made his way to 191 at the end of 45 overs. Now, for those of you who don’t know, the highest individual scores in ODIs were 194* by Coventry (for Zimbabwe against Bangladesh in 2009) and 194 by Saeed Anwar (for Pakistan against India in 1997). With Dhoni on strike in the 46th over, he took a single. Tendulkar hit two runs of the second ball of the over, and was on 193, when he flicked a ball behind short fine leg for another two runs to go past the two batsmen and reach the highest individual score of 195. Dhoni continued to get most of the strike over the last couple of overs and was hitting the bowlers all over the park reaching his 50 in 29 deliveries with a six over long-off. Last over, Sachin on 199 with Dhoni on strike; Dhoni hits a six off the first ball, but takes a single off the second to give Sachin strike and a chance to write himself into the books. Sachin hits the ball behind point and completes the first ever double century in ODI history (in 147 deliveries), hitting a record-setting 25 fours in the innings. Sachin takes off his helmet, waves to the crowd, the dressing room, and points his head to the sky thanking the almighty.

Sachin dedicated his double ton to the people of India, and said that he would like to play atleast one other 50-over knock in the rest of his career. In his post-match interview, when asked when he felt like he could get to the 200 mark, he said that once he got past the 175 run mark and noticed that there are still 8 overs to go, he thought that he might be able to get there. It has taken nearly 40 years for any batsmen to have achieved this feat, including the old 60-over format of the game. A lot came close, but no one could actually make it until the God himself shown at almost 37-years of age, in a battle against a good bowling side, the interruptions, and the cramps, an ode to his fitness, dedication, drive and passion for the game!

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