Sachin Tendulkar created history with the first double century in one-day internationals as India thrashed South Africa by 153 runs in Gwalior.
The 36-year-old hit 25 fours and three sixes in an unbeaten 200 off 147 balls.
It passed the previous best of 194, set by Pakistan’s Saeed Anwar in 1997 and Zimbabwe’s Charles Coventry last year.
Mahendra Dhoni hit four sixes in 68 from 35 balls in a mammoth 401-3, and South Africa were 248 all out as India took an unassailable 2-0 series lead.
Tendulkar, whose previous best one-day knock was the 186 not out he scored against New Zealand in 1999, is already the leading run-scorer in Test and ODI cricket.
But to have reached such a landmark, with a single in the final over, only serves to underline his class and add to the legacy that already surrounds arguably the finest batsman to have played the game.
His innings, the 46th one-day century of his career, was typified by wristy strokes, trademark boundary shots and, above all, stamina as he batted through the entire innings.
HIGHEST INDIVIDUAL ODI SCORES200* Sachin Tendulkar, India v South Africa 2010194* Charles Coventry, Zimbabwe v Bangladesh 2009194 Saeed Anwar, Pakistan v India 1997189* Viv Richards, W Indies v England 1984189 Sanath Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka v India 2000
He passed the previous best score in ODIs off 140 deliveries before taking his time over the final six runs, completing his double century with a single off Charl Langeveldt four balls from the end of the innings.
Despite clearly suffering with cramp towards the end, Tendulkar was not to be denied and the packed Gwalior crowd were in raptures as he brought up the record.
Around him, Dinesh Karthik and Dhoni provided able support.
Karthik, who came to the crease in just the fourth over after Virender Sehwag sent a high catch down to Dale Steyn at third man off Wayne Parnell, struck four fours and three sixes on his way to an 85-ball knock of 79.
He departed when he mistimed a pull shot to Herschelle Gibbs at mid-wicket but Yusuf Pathan upped the pace with 36 off 23 balls, including two huge sixes.
However, not even he could match Dhoni’s remarkable strokeplay, the India captain providing a staggering display of power hitting with four sixes and seven fours that allowed Tendulkar to calmly build his record-breaking innings at the other end.
When Mark Boucher departed in the 23rd over South Africa were 134-7, and though AB de Villiers struck 13 fours and two sixes in an unbeaten 114, his fifth one-day hundred, the tourists were never in the hunt.
They must now try to avoid a whitewash in the final match of the series in Ahmedabad on Saturday.
Several leading former players who were fortunate to witness the innings saluted India’s favourite son Tendulkar.
Former India captain Bishen Singh Bedi said: “It was a great moment for us and another class act from Tendulkar. Sachin has been a great warrior for us and this innings was a delight to watch.”
The former Pakistan captain Aamer Sohail, who was Anwar’s opening partner, said: “It was a brilliant innings and if you speak to Saeed Anwar, he would be so glad Tendulkar was the one to break his record.
“We all know how talented and how passionate he is about the game, but it’s incredible that at the age of 36 he is still going on, he plays the full 50 overs, runs hard and at no point during this knock did he look like he was going to throw his wicket away.
“But the biggest reason he gets all these records is because he respects the game tremendously.”
Another former Pakistan captain and top-order batsman Rameez Raja also paid rich tribute to Tendulkar.
“He’s been a great ambassador for India and world cricket,” Rameez said. “He is a great role model because for someone who has played international cricket for 20-odd years there isn’t a single scandal against him.
“It shows the character of the man and he still has the passion and enthusiasm of a 10-year-old.”