x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Modest master plays down his winning runs

He averages 134.5 in series against Australia and says 'I just want to continue scoring'

BANGALORE// Sachin Tendulkar played down his match-winning performance and his remarkable form this year after India completed a historic series win over Australia yesterday. The Mumbai right-hand batsman scored his sixth double century, took his career tally past 14,000 runs Test runs and then fittingly hit the winning runs as India completed a seven-wicket victory.

It was India's first at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in 15 years and their first series sweep of Australia. "This series was a fantastic one," Tendulkar said. "I would like to congratulate the whole team. I don't count [my runs]. I let the others count. I just want to continue scoring." Tendulkar, who scored 214 in the first innings - his 49th Test century - took his series aggregate to 403 runs at an astonishing average of 134.5 with an unbeaten 53 yesterday. The 37-year-old sent a large crowd wild when he paddled Nathan Hauritz, the off-spinner, to fine leg to complete the victory.

"Normally, there is not much crowd for Test cricket, thanks to Bangalore for coming out," Tendulkar said. "You guys made the victory sweeter." Chasing 207 for a win, India made the target with nearly a session to spare. The Australian bowlers struggled for line and length on a helpful two-paced wicket which had been a cause for worry at the start of the fifth day. "It's a little bit harsh," Ricky Ponting, the Australian captain, said. "We played very, very well for the majority of the first Test match. We played pretty well for the majority of this Test. "But in India," he said, "unless you play five good days of Test match cricket, you don't win games."

The result, the first time Australia have lost three consecutive Tests since 1988, saw them drop to fifth in the rankings and leaves them with plenty to ponder ahead of the five Test Ashes series against England starting next month. "I'm not sure in my time if that's happened," Ponting said. "There are some issues there we have to deal with. And we have to get over them quickly. We have to shape up in Australia. We have to start winning some Tests pretty soon."

Australia were bowled out for 223 yesterday and needed quick wickets to have had any chance of preventing India from scoring the 207 they needed for a win that cemented their place at the apex of the rankings. The run chase was anchored by Cheteswara Pujara who struck seven boundaries in a fluent 72. Playing his first Test, Pujara batted with poise and confidence and dominated partnerships of 72 with Murali Vijay, who made 37, and 57 with Tendulkar.

"I was a bit nervous," Pujara said. "I told myself that I want to be in the present. When you just look at each and every ball, each and every over, there is no pressure." * Agencies