Gwalior, Nov 15 (UNI) A sublime Sachin Tendulkar (97) led India to an easy series-clinching six-wicket victory over arch rivals Pakistan in the fourth one-dayer here today, though he fell yet again in the nervous nineties.
In reply to Pakistan's 255 for six, which largely revolved around Mohammad Yousuf's unbeaten 99, India surpassed the target, scoring 260 for six with 21 balls to spare at Captain Roop Singh Stadium in the day-nighter.
With today's win, India had taken an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match series with the fifth and final ODI left to be played at Jaipur on November 18.
Today's victory ensured that India had won the last two ODI series between the two countries. India had won the five-match ODI series 4-1 in Pakistan in January-February last year. It also made amends of India's 4-2 series loss to the same rivals at home in 2005.
India also notched up a series win after reverses in England and against Australia at home this year. For Mahendra Singh Dhoni, it is the first series win as captain.
The talking point of the day was, however, man-of-the-match Tendulkar's missing out a hundred on nervous nineties for the sixth time in less than five months.
He was out for 97 in the 30th over to the dismay of the capacity crowd, inside-edging an Umar Gul delivery to the stumps while playing away from the body. His 97 included 16 fours and came from 102 balls.
Since June 26, Tendulkar has missed a hundred on nervous nineties six times, twice against South Africa in Ireland (at 99 and 93), two against England (at 99 and 94) and twice in this series (99 at Mohali and 97 today). His last century was on January 31 at Vadodara against West Indies.
And, he had also scored a hundred in his last match here against Australia in October 2003.
With Tendulkar in magnificent form, India were never in trouble in reply to Pakistan's 225 for six, which largely revolved around Mohammad yousuf's unbeaten 99, though Sorav Ganguly (5) and Gautam Gambhir (3) were out cheaply.
With the master blaster stitching a 107-run third wicket partnership from 115 balls, India were always ahead of the asking rate of just five an over.
The hosts were 57 for two after ten overs, 105 for two after 20, 160 for four after 30 and 214 for four after the 40th.
Dhoni (45 not out) and his deputy Yuvraj Singh (53 not out) finished off the match without any hiccup. The duo played sensible cricket, rotated strikes and scored ones and twos without taking much risk before Dhoni hoisted Salman Butt for a straight six to complete the formalities.
Dhoni and Yuvaraj remained not out on 45 and 53 respectively sharing an unbroken 101-run stand for the fifth wicket.