Tendulkar impressive on comeback trail

Published: Tuesday, July 11, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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London:Sachin Tendulkar took another step on his road to recovery from a shoulder injury by scoring 50 not out for an International XI, against Pakistan, in a Twenty20 game at the Oval.

Rain reduced the match to 10 overs a side and Tendulkar, who opened the innings with Brian Lara, faced 26 balls hitting eight fours and a six helping his team to 123 for one.

However he was upstaged by the hitting of Pakistani all-rounder Shahid Afridi who scored 41 from 12 balls, hitting five sixes and two fours, and treated the bowling with complete disdain as Pakistan won by six wickets with captain Inzamam ul Haq making a quickfire 36 to guide his team home.

He hit Scott Styris for four off the last ball, after the New Zealander had bowled a no-ball with the previous delivery, to win the game.

Afridi hit his first four balls, from Zaheer Khan, for three sixes and a four and greeted Scott Styris by hitting his first two balls into the crowd before holing out to a good catch by Lara at short fine leg.

Tendulkar missed India's recent winning series in the West Indies, after having surgery but has scored four centuries in five matches for Lashings, the English celebrity team.

Tendulkar, who spent Sunday watching Roger Federer win the Wimbledon tennis title, and Lara (32 from 21 balls) put on 72 for the first wicket before Mahendra Singh Dhoni joined the fun and smashed 35 from just 13 balls, with three sixes and three fours.

Pakistan, who have injury worries ahead of Thursday's first Test against England at Lord's, gave Mohammad Sami an outing to test out his knee injury and he bowled his two overs with no alarms.

He made Tendulkar play and miss once or twice but was not operating at anything like full pace.

With Naved-ul-Hasan ruled out of the Test series with a groin injury and Mohammad Asif struggling with an elbow injury, Waqar Younis turned out for Pakistan, opening the bowling but getting hit for three successive off-side fours by Lara.

Lara walked when he edged Abdul Razzaq to Kamram Akmal behind the stumps but that just brought in Dhoni who hit the ball to all parts.

However even his hitting was upstaged by Afridi.

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