INDORE, India Sachin Tendulkar stepped on a plane on Thursday as the proud owner the highest individual score in 50-over cricket but will land on Australian soil to find that he has been robbed of the record by his one-time protege Virender Sehwag.
Sehwag has come a long way since his early days when he was called a "Tendulkar-clone" and the 33-year-old struck a blazing 219 against West Indies to surpass his mentor in his 240th one-day international.
Tendulkar, who hit 200 not out against South Africa in Gwalior in February 2010, was among the first batch of Indian cricketers to leave for the team's Australia tour.
Sehwag fiercely cut an Andre Russell delivery for the most memorable of the 25 fours he hit on Thursday as Indore's Holkar Cricket Stadium went into a delirium.
One of the few batsmen considered capable of hitting 200 in one-dayers, Sehwag punched air before hugging batting partner Rohit Sharma. He then took the helmet off to acknowledge the cheers from the hollering fans.
One male supporter even managed to sprint on to the ground with a bouquet and tried to present it to a bemused Sehwag before being escorted out.
"Everybody was expecting me to score a double hundred and I think I lived (up to the) expectation," a visibly tired Sehwag said at the innings break, happy to have made the most of the perfect batting conditions.
"Whenever I wanted to hit a ball, I hit into the gaps and it went for four. Whenever I wanted to hit a six, I just tried to hit it with a straight bat," said the opener with perhaps the most uncomplicated batting philosophy.
"I was telling myself and Gautam Gambhir that if we batted with a little patience, we could score a big one here."
Fortune also favoured the brave opener in his pursuit of the milestone.
Sehwag survived a run-out chance when he was on 20 and could have been dismissed on 170 as well but his opposite number Darren Sammy, running from extra cover, dropped an easy catch off Ravi Rampaul.
"When Sammy dropped my catch, I thought God is with me and God is telling me 'just bat until 45th-46th over and you will achieve your 200'," said Sehwag, one of the most devastating batsman in contemporary cricket.
Sehwag took 41 balls to reach his half-century and needed 28 more to score his 15th ODI century.
His 150 came off 112 balls and by the time Kieron Pollard ended his 149-ball batting pyrotechnics studded with seven sixes, Sehwag had entered the record book after a breath-taking knock that left him drained.
Sehwag scored his previous highest ODI score of 175 against Bangladesh in the Feb 19 World Cup match in Dhaka.
"I'm very tired because I'm a 33-year-old. I'm an old man and my back and glutes are tight," Sehwag said.
(Writing by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by Pritha Sarkar; To comment on this story: email firstname.lastname@example.org)
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