Tendulkar passes Lara Test record

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The Independent Online

Having survived calls for his retirement last year, Sachin Tendulkar underlined his greatness by claiming Brian Lara's Test runs world record this morning.

Retired West Indies captain Lara accumulated an astounding 11,953 runs during his illustrious career, and his great contemporary Tendulkar has now raised the bar even higher.

The 35-year-old's place in the history books was already assured but now he has yet one more record after almost two decades of phenomenal achievement.

Thanks to his ability to score runs with apparent ease on any pitch and in any part of the world, Tendulkar now proudly holds four major batting records and is undoubtedly a master of all forms of the game.

The diminutive batsman currently holds the record for the most hundreds in both the Test and ODI formats, and in 2000 he became the first batsman to score 50 international centuries - the first of which came at the age of only 17.

The signs were clearly there that Tendulkar had something special, even in the early stages of his career.

His Test debut came against Pakistan at the age of only 16, and it could hardly have been a more intimidating prospect.

Having been struck in the face by a Waqar Younis bouncer, the youngster could have been excused for going to pieces, but that is clearly not in Tendulkar's nature.

Instead, the man affectionately known as the 'Little Master' by his fans, dug in and continued to bat, ignoring any pending concerns about his blood-soaked shirt.

That innings marked out the young Tendulkar as someone to watch in future years, and sure enough the man from Mumbai has not disappointed.

Tendulkar's fluid strokes and prodigious ability to score runs in all conditions prompted West Indies great Sir Viv Richards to call him "99.5% perfect". Sir Donald Bradman, the man widely regarded as the best batsman in history, once remarked that Tendulkar "reminds me of myself" - and there are few accolades greater than that.

And it is not just batting legends that have recognised Tendulkar's natural gift to perform at the highest possible level.

Shane Warne, the Australian king of spin, said last year Tendulkar would sit pretty at the top of his greatest cricketers list, ahead of the likes of Lara and Warne's compatriots Ricky Ponting and Allan Border.

Over the years it would have been easy for Tendulkar to buckle under the pressure of public expectation where anything short of a century tends to draw concern from many Indian supporters.

But no-one can argue with Tendulkar's unrivalled commitment and catalogue of achievements that have drawn respect and admiration from all corners of the globe.

Tendulkar may be entering the final chapter of his formidable career, but it will most definitely take an effort of gigantic proportions for anyone to even come close to wresting this latest record away from him.