Wednesday 31 January 2007 

Tendulkar Century Leaves Dravid Purring

India captain Rahul Dravid heaped praise on Sachin Tendulkar after his century helped the hosts crush West Indies by 160 runs in the final one-dayer on Wednesday for a 3-1 series victory.

Tendulkar struck his 41st one-day hundred, scoring 100 not out off 76 balls, to carry the team to a commanding 341-3. The visitors were 181 all out in reply.

It was India's first one-day series win since last April.

"Sachin's innings was truly special and one of the best I've seen from him," Dravid told a news conference.

"Sachin showed why he is a great player, why he can play in different conditions, why he can adapt."

Tendulkar, who usually opens the innings, has dropped down to number four to boost the middle order.

"Not many people in the world can do this," Dravid said. "If you have players who can do this sort of thing, you're going to win a lot of games, no doubt about it."

The 33-year-old Mumbai batsman holds the one-day records for aggregate runs and hundreds, but was not in his best form on the recent South Africa tour.

Dravid said Tendulkar's knock should silence his critics.

"We were not unduly worried about Sachin," he said. "Maybe everyone else can stop worrying now so we can have a bit of peace around."

"It's a really good way to win the series," he said. "It was a must-win game for us, to win the series.

"We were under a bit of pressure. To come out and put in a performance like this was a tribute to the whole squad."

Since their 5-1 home series victory over England in April last year, India had lost 4-1 in West Indies, failed to reach the semi-finals of the ICC Champions Trophy and were routed 4-0 in South Africa in December.

West Indies captain Brian Lara praised India and Tendulkar.

"It was complete domination," he said. "Their performance was outstanding with the bat and in the field as well."

He added: "We all know what he's capable of. I'm not surprised, maybe you are."


© Reuters 2007