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Published: Tuesday, December 18, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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Kanpur: Virender Sehwag matched his idol, Sachin Tendulkar, in stroke-play as he hammered 82 to power India to an eight-wicket win over England in the fourth One-day International on Monday.[an error occurred while processing this directive]Sehwag raced to his half-century off 36 balls and shared an explosive 134-run stand with Tendulkar as India surpassed England's 218 for seven with 9.2 overs to spare in a game reduced to 39-overs-a-side due to overnight rain.Tendulkar, who completed 11,000 runs during his unbeaten 67-ball 87, overcame the death of his marketing agent, Mark Mascarenhas, who was killed in a road accident on Sunday."I am shattered," said Tendulkar, wearing a black armband with his teammates as a mark of respect to Mascarenhas. "I met him as an agent, but he became a very close friend."Tendulkar was initially outscored by Sehwag, who smashed 14 fours in his 62-ball knock to pave the way for his team's emphatic win for an unbeatable 3-1 lead in the six-match series."One learns a lot watching him (Tendulkar) bat from the other end. Batting with him is every player's dream," said Sehwag, who scored the seventh-fastest hundred (69 balls) in One-dayers at Colombo in 2001.The fireworks began early in the innings as Sehwag went on the rampage with his hard and clean hitting, much to the delight of a capacity crowd at Green Park and England's dismay.The 23-year-old started belting the England attack from early overs, hitting two successive fours off seamer Matthew Hoggard and continuing in the same form till he was caught at mid-on.When skipper Saurav Ganguly, an opener batting at number three because of cramps, was bowled by a slower one from Darren Gough, India had nearly wrapped up the match through Sehwag and Tendulkar.Sehwag was let off in the 30s, with makeshift wicket-keeper Marcus Trescothick failing to hold on to a sharp chance off Ben Hollioake. Trescothick kept wickets in place of an unwell James Foster. There was no stopping Tendulkar, who demoralised England with a wide range of attacking strokes. He cracked 13 fours and finished the match with a six off spinner Jeremy Snape.The Indian openers' pyrotechnics overshadowed England opener Nick Knight's impressive 74 after the tourists had elected to bat. Knight, who had made only 24 in the last three matches, improvised brilliantly to hit nine boundaries in his 82-ball knock before being caught reverse-sweeping spinner Harbhajan Singh.India managed to check the flow of runs after Knight's dismissal at 144, with seamer Ganguly and Harbhajan sharing three wickets in the space of 22 runs to reduce the tourists to 166 for six.Harbhajan held a return catch to dismiss skipper Nasser Hussain (15), while Ganguly bowled Michael Vaughan (four) and Paul Collingwood (six). Graham Thorpe, playing his first match of the series, scored an unbeaten 36 to take England past the 200-run mark after a 71-run stand off 64 balls between Trescothick (18) and Knight.Knight led the run-spree with a flurry of shots off seamer Ajit Agarkar, beginning with a cover-driven four and then hitting two more in the seamer's next over.Knight also did not spare Harbhajan, sweeping and then reverse-sweeping for two successive boundaries in the bowler's opening over. Ganguly promptly brought in leg spinner Anil Kumble, who removed Trescothick and Andrew Flintoff (18) to finish with two for 44.The England bowlers, however, could never contain runs as Sehwag and Tendulkar made merry on a batting wicket.