Tendulkar not first to 200

The cricket world was on Thursday celebrating the achievement of one of the greatest batsmen of all time, Sachin Tendulkar, who scored a magnificent double century against South Africa in the second one-day international (ODI) at Gwalior on Wednesday.

The Little Master batted throughout India's innings and gave a master class of superb strokeplay and controlled aggression as he stroked his way to 200 - reaching the milestone in the 50th over.

His 200 not out included 25 fours ans three sixes. He passed the previous world record of 194, held jointly by Saeed Anwar of Pakistan and Charles Coventry of Zimbabwe.

Messages of congratulation are pouring in from around the world - and it is quite possible that one of those messages may come from former Australian women's captain, Belinda Clark. Because while Tendulkar is the first man to reach the magical number, Clark did it 13 years ago, against Denmark in the Women's World Cup in India in 1997.

Clark made 229 not out, batting for 181 minutes and scoring 22 boundaries, as Australia notched up 412/3, before bowling Denmark out for 49.

Cricinfo describes Clark as a giant of the Australian game both on and off the field, where she combined the roles of player and captain with that of chief executive of Women's Cricket Australia.

She led by example, averaging over 50 in Tests and 40 in one-day internationals.

In 1997 she captained Australian to their fourth World Cup, but despite cracking 91 in the 2001 final, Australia lost to New Zealand by four runs.

Clark's revenge came in 2005 when she led Australia to another title in South Africa, where her side did not lose a game.

At Test level Clark was, if anything, even more prolific, and her best score of 136 was made against England at Worcester in 1998.

She holds Australia's record for Test and ODI runs and also for ODI appearances. She retired at the end of the 2005 Ashes series, but like her male counterparts, it was as part of a losing side. - Sap


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