Cricket: India hails Tendulkar's heroics

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INDIA'S SUPPORTERS were in jubilant mood yesterday after Sachin Tendulkar's blazing century against Kenya in the World Cup, which came only five days after his father's death.

The sombre mood after India's Group A defeats at the hands of South Africa and Zimbabwe turned into one of hope and joy as Tendulkar hit an unbeaten 140 off 101 balls in Sunday's match.

"Every time we think we have seen every aspect of Tendulkar's cricket, destiny wills us to rethink as the Little Big Man reveals a new facet to his personality," Ganesan Rajaraman wrote in the Hindustan Times.

Tendulkar dedicated his innings at Bristol to his father. He had missed his side's defeat by Zimbabwe to fly home to Bombay, but returned with a fitting tribute by inspiring India to victory over Kenya by 94 runs.

Millions of Indians watched on television as the 26-year-old helped India to their first victory, keeping alive their hopes of qualify for the Super Six stage.

The Indian Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, was moved to send a personal message. "The whole of India is proud of you," he wrote. "You have showed the entire nation, especially the Indian youth, how to serve the nation by overcoming adversity."