RAWALPINDI, March 16: Pakistan captain Inzamamul Haq heaped lavish praise on India's Sachin Tendulkar despite the hosts winning the second one-dayer by 12 runs to level the five-match series 1-1. "There is no doubt he is the greatest batsman," said Inzamam of Tendulkar, who smashed 141 off 135 balls - his 37th one-day century that carried him past the 13,000-run mark.

"In the last 13-14 years, he has worked so hard and has proved to the world he is outstanding and when he is playing so well, you can only wait to get his wicket."

Pakistan, who piled up a mammoth 329-6 after taking first strike in the day-night international, bowled out India to 317. "The wicket was so good that winning the toss did not make a difference," Inzamam said. "Even a target of 330 was gettable. But we batted first because we wanted to bowl under lights. "We never relaxed. We just wanted to get them out." Indian captain Sourav Ganguly said his team did not give up till the end.

"In high scoring games like this, anything is possible," he said. "Our tail enders did well to get us close to the total and I admire the courage they have shown in the face of fast bowling.

"In the remaining three games, whoever bowls first must restrict the other to below 300, but that could be difficult on such good wickets." The first match at Karachi on Saturday had ended as the highest-scoring one-dayer in history with Pakistan making 344-8 in reply to India's 349-7.

The remaining matches of the absorbing series will be played at Peshawar on Friday and at Lahore on March 21 and 24. Tendulkar, named man of the match, said he would have been happier with his effort if India had won.

"I have always said the century has a great value if the team wins," he said. "The pitch took more turn in the evening. The ball was stopping and it was not easy to bat out there.

"We took some time to settle down and were more selective in our stroke play. But the Pakistanis bowled very well." Tendulkar, already the most successful batsman in one-day history, made a gallant effort to win the match for India before he was caught in the deep off Shoaib Malik in the 39th over with 85 still needed.

The 30-year-old, who hit 17 boundaries and a six, returned with a tally to 13,090 runs from 330 matches, far ahead of the rest of the pack. The next in line of run-getters is Inzamam with 9,607, while his Indian counterpart Ganguly is second in the hundreds' list with 22. -AFP



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