Tendulkar injury takes gloss off India's epic win over South Africa

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The Independent Online

Sachin Tendulkar flew home from the one-day series in South Africa with a hamstring injury yesterday, creating a World Cup worry for India just a month before the country hosts cricket's limited-overs showpiece.

The India team manager, Ranjib Biswal, confirmed Tendulkar had returned home because of a right hamstring strain picked up in Saturday's dramatic come-from-behind victory over the Proteas in the second ODI.

India's cricket board says it will announce its 15-man World Cup squad today and Tendulkar is certain to be included at this stage. The World Cup, co-hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, begins on 19 February, with the opening match between India and Bangladesh.

Parthiv Patel, a wicketkeeper and capable batsman, will be sent to South Africa in Tendulkar's place, leaving India with just one recognised opening batsman, Murali Vijay, for the final three games of the series. The openers Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir and fast bowler Praveen Kumar had already been ruled out with injury before the five-match, 50-over series began.

Tendulkar made a record-equalling 444th ODI appearance on Saturday, as India clinched a one-run win at The Wanderers to level the five-match series 1-1. It was India's first one-day win in South Africa in 10 years.

The 37-year-old batsman made 24 but required treatment while batting and did not field. He will now miss the remainder of the series, which continues with a third match in Cape Town tomorrow.

Tendulkar had been set to break the one-day international appearance record of Sri Lanka's Sanath Jayasuriya in that third match at Newlands.

In Wellington, Taufeeq Umar and Azhar Ali shared a stand of 132 as Pakistan responded to a captain's innings of 110 by Daniel Vettori in the second Test against New Zealand.

Vettori's total came off 166 deliveries, including 10 fours and one six, as he led from the front at the Basin Reserve to guide his side to 356 all out.

New Zealand then enjoyed the perfect start with the ball when Mohammad Hafeez was controversially out with just two on the board as the hosts looked to avenge their crushing 10-wicket defeat in the first Test at Hamilton. However, Taufeeq and Azhar scored 70 and 62 respectively before the former was out from the final delivery of the day, caught by Martin Guptill off the bowling of Vettori. It left Pakistan on 134 for two, trailing by 222 runs with eight wickets in hand.