India skipper Saurav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar both hammered centuries and posted a record opening partnership against South Africa in the first match of a triangular limited overs tournament at the Wanderers Stadium Friday.
India made 279 for five in their 50 overs, the highest one day international total ever made at the ground, after being sent in on a good batting pitch on a hot afternoon. Ganguly made 127 off 125 balls, while Tendulkar scored 101 off 130 deliveries to register his 30th century in international one-day cricket. Their stand of 193 was the highest opening partnership for any country against South Africa. Tendulkar was content to play a supporting role, making only 55 while Ganguly was batting. Out of action since undergoing treatment for a stress fracture of his right foot in August, he struggled with his timing early on but went on to play some fluent strokes as he reaching his century in the 48th over before skying a catch off the next ball. Both Indian stars had been doubtful starters during the week, missing a match against South Africa A in Benoni two days earlier. Ganguly had a bruised right index finger, while Tendulkar suffered some pain in his troublesome foot following his return in a warm-up match Monday. It was thrilling batting although both men survived difficult chances with Tendulkar being dropped twice. On 11, he edged South African captain Shaun Pollock and Lance Klusener, diving far to his right at slip, could not hold on to the ball. He then gave a sharp return chance to the left of fast bowler Andre Nel when he 68. Ganguly had scored 43 when he top-edged a hook against Jacques Kallis and Justin Kemp ran and dived at fine leg but the ball slipped from his hands as he hit the ground. The left-handed Ganguly played some spectacular shots, hitting five sixes and 14 fours. All of his sixes were hit to the legside against South Africas all-pace attack. Tendulkar hit nine fours. Ganguly was out in the 36th over when he top-edged Kemp and wicket-keeper Mark Boucher took a good catch, running towards fine leg. The South African bowlers did a reasonable job to restrict India to another 86 runs in the remaining 14.4 overs, with none of the other batsmen able to build an innings.
| Copyright AFP 2001