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Tendulkar more relieved than elated

January 03, 2004 17:53 IST

Sachin Tendulkar said he was more relieved than elated after breaking the longest form slump of his career with an unbeaten 220 in the deciding Test against Australia on Saturday.

India's master batsman had not scored a Test hundred for 14 months but rediscovered his form in spectacular fashion to post his 32nd Test century and the highest of his glittering career.

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"It was relieving, especially when you have not had a good series," Tendulkar told a news conference after helping India amass a daunting total of 650 for five on day two.

"I knew a big innings was around the corner so it was just a matter of hanging in there.

"It wasn't that I wasn't batting well. I was just missing out on one particular ball. Instead of getting beaten I was nicking it."

Tendulkar also shared in a record 353-run partnership with Vangipurappu Laxman, who made 178 on Saturday, confirming his reputation as a scourge of Australia.

Their combined effort almost certainly ended Australian captain Steve Waugh's dreams of finishing his distinguished career with a series win. But the two Indians said they had no regrets.

Waugh was one of the first to congratulate the pair and Laxman later dedicated his hundred to the batsman playing his 168th and last Test.

"This is really memorable for me because this is the last Test match Steve Waugh is going to play and he's been a great inspiration for me," Laxman said.

Laxman made a national record 281 against Australia in Kolkata in 2001 to help India win a series they seemed destined to lose and also made 148 in last month's second Test in Adelaide to steer the tourists to an unlikely victory.

He featured in triple century partnerships with Rahul Dravid on both occassions but said his stand with Tendulkar was a personal highlight.

"This one is special," he said. "It's always a great learning experience when you are at the non-striker's end watching the best batsmen in the world."

Adam Gilchrist said Australia still have not given up hope of winning despite the likelihood of more runs to come.

India's total surpassed England's 636 at the SCG in 1928-29 as the highest score by an overseas team in Australia but Gilchrist said all is not lost yet.

"We never give up hope. Whilst there's a competition still on we're still a chance," he told a news conference.

Despite his optimistic mood, Gilchrist said India were the hardest opponents he had ever faced in a Test series at home and the likelihood of a win was now remote.

"It's just been a real challenge for us to try to find ways of getting these guys out. It's been tough work. It's been physically and mentally taxing."

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