London: India's stupendous victory in the World Cup match against Pakistan provided just the excuse British media wanted to once again sing praises on the "sweet" and "wondrous" Sachin Tendulkar and conclude that his 98-runknock had once and for all sealed the debate on whether he wasthe best batsman in the world.Heaping praise on the maestro for his knock at Centurion in South Africa on Saturday, "The Independent" said Tendulkar's art of batting is beyond boundaries.
"It is hard to imagine that the art of batting can ever have reached the pinnacle Sachin Tendulkar took it to in a sumptuous display at Centurion. "If there was any doubt that he is the best batsman in the world, it vanished once and for all as he persuaded Pakistan's bowlers to all points of the compass with strokes that were as breathtakingly and daringly conceived as they were perfectly executed and placed," it said on Sunday."Better matches and tighter finishes may lie ahead in the eighth World Cup but there will be no more alluring spectacle. Nor will there be a more scintillating innings than that played by the wondrous Sachin Tendulkar, unless he plays it himself," said a separate article in the newspaper, with a headline "Sachin sets the world alight".
With a headline screaming "Sweet Sachin steals show", 'The Sunday Times' said, "Tendulkar produced the most astonishing innings seen in 50-over cricket since the matches began."His breathtaking assault on a furious Pakistan attack brought thousands of spectators to their feet, waving, chanting and roaring themselves to hoarse." Statistics cannot do justice to a talent such as Tendulkar, but in this case they speak for themselves. He has amassed 469 runs in this tournament, more than anybody else, top scoring for India in five of their six matches. The 29-year-old also passed 12,000 runs in One-day Internationals on Saturday, nobody else has reached 10,000 even. The newspapers also praised Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh for steadying the Indian innings and ensuring victory.
"Rahul Dravid's sense and Yuvraj Singh's stroke play took over and conducted India home by six wickets with 4.2 overs to spare in a crescendo of pandemonium," the 'Sunday Telegraph' wrote.In a special tribute to Tendulkar, it said, "He truly is the most admirable of contemporary cricketers, perhaps the only one now - in Shane Warne's absence - who lends greatness to the age," it said.'The Observer' noted that Tendulkar's 74-ball knock transcended all the squabbles of this World Cup. "For two hours Tendulkar bewitched a capacity crowd and sent his adoring supporters into ecstasy.
For the neutrals it was a privilege to witness a sublime innings that touched perfection - one of those 'I was there' moments." "No one on the planet can play like this and I'm not even sure that Tendulkar himself has played so sublimely in One-day cricket," 'The Observer' said. "He did offer one chance; Abdul Razzaq dropped him at mid -off when he was on 32. Otherwise Tendulkar was awesome. "They sometimes quibble that he is a player of great knocks rather than match-winning innings. This innings put that charge to bed: this is the World Cup; the opponents were Pakistan and his team faced a formidable total; they needed someone to assert himself.
"It took him two overs. After a classical back-foot drive off Wasim, he turned his attention to Shoaib Akhtar, the fastest bowler in the world." The paper went on to describe his shots one by one before concluding "it is not possible to bat better than this"."The catalogue of wonderful stroke-play continued. Waqar removed Shoaib after one over, only to be punished himself. Tendulkar was hitting good balls for four with classical orthodoxy. In a form of the game where it is notpossible to retreat by bowling outside leg-stump, as England did on their last Test tour of India, they could not stop him."Thanks a billion, Tendulkar" screamed the headline in 'The Independent' which said Tendulkar revealed his whole repertoire of scintillating strokes as he dispatched the ball to all parts of the ground in a bewildering onslaught. PTI