Pietermaritzburg: Sachin Tendulkar and Saurav Ganguly hit centuries as India's batting might crushed minnows Namibia by 181 runs in the World Cup on Sunday. Tendulkar hit 152 and Ganguly returned unbeaten on 112 following a run-a-ball stand of 244 for the second wicket as India piled up 311 for 2 after being sent to bat in overcast conditions. Namibia found Indian's spin too hot to handle and folded up for 130 in 42.3 overs to suffer its fourth consecutive defeat in its maiden appearance in cricket's showpiece.
Part-time spinner Yuvraj Singh was the unlikely hero, claiming four wickets for six runs, while Harbhajan Singh, Dinesh Mongia and Zaheer Khan bagged two apiece. India, however, suffered an injury scare when left-arm seamer Ashish Nehra limped off the field after slipping on his delivery stride with his first ball of the innings. Ganguly said Nehra was feeling better but preferred to keep him in the dressing room for the rest of the day so that the injury was not aggravated.
India's third win in four matches still left them the task of beating both England and archrivals Pakistan to ensure a place in the Super Sixes from group 'A'. "It was important to put runs on the board. Sachin and I got them and that's good for the team," Ganguly said. "The ball did a bit at first but the wicket was slow. It's the end of the season here now and there's been a lot of cricket played, therefore they are slower." Tendulkar's 34th One-day century emulated Australian Mark Waugh's feat of four World Cup hundreds and put the Indian star's amazing batting records even beyond the reach of other contemporary batsmen.
Ganguly moved to second place behind Tendulkar with 20 hundreds, surpassing Pakistani Saeed Anwar's tally of 19. "The last nine or ten One-dayers have not been good for me but I have always believed in myself and I knew that once I got in, I would get a big score," the Indian captain said. Virender Sehwag was the only batsman to miss out in the run feast, caught at mid- wicket in the eighth over after making 24. It was for the fourth time in as many matches that Tendulkar top-scored for his team, having made 52, 36 and 81 earlier in the tournament.
"When the other batsmen are struggling to make runs, it's my duty as the senior player to lift the side," said Tendulkar, whose innings was studded with 18 boundaries. "The wicket was damp at the start, but it was just a matter of staying out there for an hour." Namibian captain Deon Kotze said the match was a lesson in batting for his team. "It was a great pleasure to watch Sachin bat and I would like our guys to learn from that," Kitze said. "Saurav too was brilliant and when two quality players like them get in, they are very difficult to stop." Jan Burger was Namibia's top scorer with 29 as the Indian spinners reveled on the slow wicket.
Yuvraj, who bowls occasional left-arm spin, sliced through the tail after Zaheer, Harbhajan and Mongia had taken care of the top order. India next plays England under lights at Newlands on Wednesday. Namibia take on defending champions Australia at Potchefstroom on Thursday. Copyright AFP 2001