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British media shower accolades on Sachin


The usually taciturn Michael Atherton gushed ''I do not think even W. G. (Grace) would have played like Sachin'' and the British media heaped encomiums after Sachin Tendulkar came up with yet another exhibition of his masterly batting at the Lord's on Saturday.

The Indian genius, who led his Rest of the World side to an eventually easy win over the Atherton-led MCC with a rivetting 125, was accorded a standing ovation by the 30,000 strong tradition-bound gathering as he walked back after his first century at the Mecca of cricket.

Sachin TendulkarTendulkar reiterated his status as the world's best batsman and the Diana, Princess of Wales, memorial match on the 150th birth anniversary of the venerable W. G. Grace, father of modern cricket, turned into an occasion for paying the richest tributes to the young maestro.

''Will they be staging a match on April 14, 2123, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar? It seemed a reasonable question to ask at Lord's on Saturday night after the brilliant young Indian, who may lay, claims to be the W. G. Grace of his day, had played a game quite different from that of the world's next-best cricketers...'' wrote Simon Wilde in the Sunday Times.

If Vic Marks of The Observer needed more proof to Tendulkar's class he obviously got that as he wrote, 'we had all heard reports after the recent Test series between India and Australia that the batting of Sachin Tendulkar had reached a new plane, that he was unquestionably the best batsman in world cricket. Well, the little master used the stage ... To confirm that those reports are true.'

After blond leg spinner Shane Warne compared Tendulkar to Don Bradman following his assault during the Aussie tour of India and Sharjah, Atherton and the British media equated him with Grace - the ultimate praise that can be expected from the English.

Tendulkar was the theme for Richard Hobson of the Times too: ''In the years ahead, when those who were at Lord's recollect the events of Saturday, they will not think of Diana ... Or W. G. Grace. The contest staged as a tribute to both developed from lethargic beginnings into a celebration of the gifts of one man.''

''When Sachin Tendulkar had his eye set, everybody swung behind him. If the last comparable occasion, the MCC bicentenary Test of 1987, was elevated by Roger Harper's run-out of Graham Gooch, then Tendulkar lifted this one with his whole innings.

''It became as much an exhibition as the collection of paintings in the Lord's museum commemorating the good doctor's 150th birthday,'' The Times said.

Superlatives were liberally used as Tendulkar audaciously went after the MCC attack that included Glenn McGrath, Allan Donald, Javagal Srinath and Anil Kumble.

''Such was his domination that Aravinda de Silva, an inch shorter than Tendulkar at 5ft 4in, was overshadowed by his partner despite playing delightfully for 82 from 79 balls, 50 of them in boundaries. But with Tendulkar in full cry, de Silva knew what a big crowd wanted and often handed him the strike at the first opportunity,'' the Sunday Times said.

Tendulkar's brilliance also overshadowed young Caribbean Shivnaraine Chanderpaul's solid 127.