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Sachin, Lara join hands for great cause

Despite an entralling partnership between Lara and Tendulkar, who cracked a fifty, International XI lost to Pakistan in a charity match.

india Updated: Jul 11, 2006 15:54 IST

Sachin Tendulkar continued his return to international cricket with another stroke-filled half-century while also featuring in an enthralling partnership with Brian Lara in a charity match at the Brit Oval stadium on Monday.

Facing bowlers of international standards for the first time in more than three months after a shoulder surgery, Tendulkar cracked an unbeaten 50 for an International XI but could not prevent touring Pakistan from scoring a six-wicket victory.

Rain and a lack of floodlights meant that the Twenty-20 match between International XI and Pakistan, in aid of the victims of the earthquake in Pakistan last October, was reduced to 10 overs a side.

But there was no dearth of entertainment for the 20,000-odd crowd as Tendulkar and the other batting stars studded the evening with boundaries and sixes.

The Indian maestro hit eight fours and a six in his 26-ball knock and added 72 runs for the opening stand with Lara as International XI made 123 for one.

Pakistan, however, overhauled the target in the final over.

Shahid Afridi hammered 41 off just 12 balls with fives sixes and two fours.

Afridi blasted 22 runs off the first four balls and hit two more sixes before Inzamam's 36 off 17 saw them home off the last ball.

Watched by a crowd of over 20,000 the match raised 250,000 pounds for the charity.

Tendulkar delighted his fans with a huge six over mid-wicket off the seventh ball he faced.

More fireworks followed when Mahendra Singh Dhoni succeeded Lara who made 32 off 21 deliveries.

The India wicketkeeper cracked Abdul Razzaq for six over long-off and four a little straighter in making 35 off 13 balls.

Tendulkar showed no sign of discomfort as he thundered three powerful pull shots - two assertive fours against Shahid Nazir and one disdainful six against the largely unthreatening Waqar Younis.

Pakistan's fast bowling attack has been so depleted by injuries on their visit to England that when Waqar Younis, the 34-year-old veteran of 87 Tests, opened the bowling and conceded only five runs from his first over, there were suggestions that he could make a return to the Test.

Tendulkar and Lara put an end to that fantasy in Waqar's second over, hitting him for three fours as well as that monstrous six.

Meanwhile, Indian captain Rahul Dravid hailed Tendulkar's return to the game.

"He was striking the ball so well, but we never had any doubts or so ever about his coming back to the game," said Dravid who led the International side.

"He never had any real problems with batting, only throwing was a concern."

Tendulkar missed the one-day series at home against England and did not play the entire tour of the West Indies.

Dravid was confident the Mumbaikar would be back in the team sooner than later.

"I am sure Sachin, in consultation with his doctor, will make the decision that is best for both himself and the Indian team," he said.