There will be talk about how it was a flat pitch and the runs were there for the taking. Well, this was the 2,962nd ODI played and a batsman finally reached 200. I don't care how flat the pitch was, this was special. What made it even more special was that the team goal was not sacrificed at the altar of a personal record. (He did set the record for most 4's in a single ODI inning).
Between them MS Dhoni and Yusuf Pathan scored 104 runs in just 58 balls with 11 fours and 6 sixes. Masada came in at 300 for 3 in 41.1 overs. In the next 9 overs India added 101 runs with the Masada of recent vintage shelving his game for the MS of old. And boy, did he put up a display of wrist strength and power. When Matthew Hayden scored 380* against Zimbabwe at Perth, I remember watching Adam Gilchrist blazing away at the other end. Reared as I was through years and years of watching batsmen take singles to let another batsman get to a milestone, I was surprised at how quickly Gilly was scoring with scant regard for farming the strike. He reached a 100 in just 84 balls and all the while both batsmen knew that Steve Waugh was going to declare soon. The utter disregard for the personal milestone was not lost on me.
(Associated Press via CricInfo 2010)
When Sachin crossed the previous record of 194, there were 27 balls left and the Indian score was 345. Of the next 27 balls, SRT got to face just 7 balls and scored 5 runs off of them. Masada plundered 50 runs in the other 20 balls. Doing this put the game out of reach of the SAffers and also reduced the pressure on SRT to push the score along. Some of the sixes that the captain hit reminded everyone that the muscular marauder of old still lurks beneath the more sedate avataar he has adopted since his ascendancy to the top spot in Indian cricket.
Lots of writers far better than me will talk about SRT's inning so I will desist from doing the same. All I want to add is that, on evidence, he is still one of the best batsmen in the world and can keep playing for a few years beyond the World Cup. I hope he does. He is just that good.