Sachin Tendulkar rated his match-winning century in the final of the Compaq Cup tri-series as one of the best of his one-day career.

“I wouldn’t hesitate to rate it as one of my best,” Tendulkar told reporters after winning his 59th Man of the Match award.

“The conditions were very tough; they were draining, so we had to fight both the Sri Lankan team and the conditions. Physically it isn’t easy playing three games in four days, and to score runs you have to run, you have to be out there for 40 overs. I would definitely put this up the order."

Tendulkar attributed the success India has had over the last two years to the increase in match-winners. In this period, the one-day side has won a triangular series in Australia and five successive bilateral series, including two in Sri Lanka, one at home against England, and one each in New Zealand and the West Indies.

Extremely talented guys

“We had good players earlier also, but we have more match-winners now,” he said. “These are extremely talented guys with bat and ball. And they have delivered at the crunch. They are match-winners, that’s what this team is about. This is definitely one of the best teams I’ve been part of.”

Asked if he felt helpless watching Sri Lanka’s innings from the dressing room, Tendulkar confessed that he had barely any nails left, after “biting them off” during the Thilina Kandamby-Chamara Kapugedera partnership.

“The match was balanced, and we needed a couple of wickets,” he said.

“They still had the Batting Power Play, and if one the batsmen have a big day, they can take the match away.”

Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara said he was proud of the way Kandamby and Kapugedera batted under lights, but added that the side had to show greater responsibility.

“Thilina and Chamara showed some guts and character,” he said.

“They showed if you are willing to do the difficult things, to play out of your comfort zone, you can achieve a lot. But we lost too many wickets when the situation was good, when we were within the required run rate. These are little details that need to be taken care of or the good sides will make you pay.”

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