India on Monday celebrated the record-breaking feats of Sachin Tendulkar after the champion batsman scored an unprecedented 50th Test century.
"... shut your eyes, blank out the noise and whisper gently, '50 Test centuries'. Enjoy the way it slips off your tongue and ask yourself if you had ever considered it possible. I hadn't. A decade ago I wrote, 'Would I be considered a madman if I forced the word "fifty" from my lips!'" - Commentator and television presenter Harsha Bhogle savours the moment
President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh led the glowing tributes even as India lost the first cricket Test against South Africa at Centurion. Tendulkar remained unbeaten on 111,
But Indians back home appeared little concerned by the team's precarious position in the Test, confirming the widely held belief that defeat did not matter as long as Tendulkar scored a century.(Click here to watch the video)
The 37-year-old is the most prolific batsman in history with a record 46 one-day hundreds to go with his 50 Test centuries since he entered the international arena back in 1989.
"It is an amazing achievement to play for the country for over two decades and still continue to be the team's anchor," Prime Minister Singh said. "Sachin makes all of us so very proud."
The 50-ton feat was flashed on the front pages of leading newspapers and television channels rounded up past and present cricketers to speak on the batsman they compared to the legendary Don Bradman of Australia.
"Don of a new era" screamed the front page of the Times of India, which devoted three pages to the master's achievements under catchy headlines like "Batman Forever" and "Sachincredible".
"Legend, 50 times over” a newspaper wrote on its front page, while another headlined its story "Sachin cricket enters 51st century".
Tendulkar's consistency over a 21-year period earned high praise with former captain Sourav Ganguly calling him the "best batsman ever" ahead of the late Bradman, who retired in 1948 with a Test batting average of 99.94.
"For him, a Test match begins two days earlier, preparing for it. He wants to face the maximum number of balls at the nets. You will not see him play a loose shot at the nets." - Gary Kirsten, India's coach, praises Tendulkar's work ethic
"The only challenge he has is to beat himself every time he walks out there because he has done almost everything." - There's little left for Tendulkar to achieve, says Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara
"There wouldn't be one side in the world that wouldn't want Sachin as their first wicket, pointing their ship toward victory." - Former Australia opener Matthew Hayden presents the opposition's point of view
"I try to watch the matches in which he is playing because I have not seen anyone gifted with such natural technical batting excellence, which he has combined with his hard work and commitment. He is indeed a phenomena and a role model for every young batsman." - Hanif Mohammad, the former Pakistan batsman, admires Tendulkar's perseverance
"I've never imagined that someone can go this level and play for more than 20 years. It's an incredible feat." - Graeme Pollock is impressed by Tendulkar's longevity
"I'd like to ask him just how he has managed to work so hard to stay at the top for so long and what advice he'd give other sportsmen." - The fastest man on earth, Usain Bolt, is a fan
"If I'm a cricketer, it's because of Sachin Tendulkar. Else, I would have never picked up a bat. He's the reason behind me playing cricket." - Virender Sehwag gives us another reason to be thankful for Tendulkar
Twitter reactions to Sachin Tendulkar becoming the first batsman to make 50 Test centuries
Sanjay Manjrekar: "He has got it finally! and judging from his reaction..meant a lot to him...the 50th test ton..this is one record that is there to stay."
Harsha Bhogle: "All great players redefine their profession.50 Test hundreds was considered unthinkable. Sachin has done it."
Yuvraj Singh: "Greatest achievement by a bats man ever! His name is sachinnnnnnn tendulkarrrrrrrrrr!! Wooohooooooooo."
Iain O'Brien: "Congrats you little massive legend!"