Sachin Tendulkar cuts through to the boundary [AFP]

A commanding 97 from Sachin Tendulkar's has led India to a six-wicket victory over Pakistan to secure an unbeatable 3-1 lead in the one-day series.

Chasing Pakistan's total of 255 for six from 50 overs, India reached 260 for four with 21 balls to spare, although Tendulkar again fell short of a century.

Like Tendulkar, Pakistan batsman Mohammad Yousuf also failed to reach a hundred, unbeaten on 99 at the end of his team's 50 overs.

Limited-overs cricket's highest century-maker, Tendulkar fell in the 90s for sixth time in the past five months when he was bowled by paceman Umar Gul.

The last of his 41 one-day hundreds came in January against the West Indies.

Tendulkar hit 14 boundaries off 102 deliveries, laying the foundation of India's victory through his 107-run partnership for the third wicket with Virender Sehwag, who contributed 43.

After the departure of Sehwag and Tendulkar, in-form batsman Yuvraj Singh (53 not out) and skipper Mahendra Dhoni (45 not out) steered India home through their unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 101.

Earlier, Yousuf hit two runs on the final delivery of the innings and finished one short of what would have been his 14th limited-overs international century.

Yousuf's 104-ball knock contained two sixes and seven boundaries, holding the innings together after the departure of Younis Khan, who made 68 off 89 deliveries.

Yousuf shared a brisk 94-run stand with Misbah-ul-Haq for the fifth wicket that spurred the scoring rate.

Their partnership was broken in the 47th over when Misbah was adjudged lbw to paceman Irfan Pathan for 40.

Pakistan lost opener Salman Butt without scoring on the second delivery of the game from Rudra Pratap Singh.

But skipper Shoaib Malik (31) put on 74 runs for the second wicket with Younis Khan, who hit five boundaries and one six.

Opening for the first time in this series, Malik was clean bowled by pacer Zaheer Khan, who emerged as the most successful bowler with figures of 2-40.

He also removed Sohail Tanvir (6).

Younis Khan popped a return catch to part-time spinner Yuvraj Singh.

Source: Agencies