Never in the history of Indian cricket would you have heard the crowd erupt in a roar of applause and cheer at the dismissal of a batsman. But, in the second Test match between India and West Indies at Wankhede Stadium the case was exactly that.
After a fine performance by the Indian
bowlers it was time for the batsmen to take charge, and all eyes were waiting for the man playing his 200th and last Test match - Sachin Tendulkar.
India responded strongly with openers Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan, who played well to put some quick runs on board. Dhawan was dismissed for 33 runs, which brought Cheteshwar Pujara to the field. Vijay's dismissal soon followed, as he fell to Shane Shillingford's off-spinner. And it was this wicket that seemed to pump in some newfound life into Wankhede.
As the man of the moment climbed down the stairs, you could see screaming fans, in the adjoining stands, with their hands stretched out, and you could hear the stadium echo "Sachin, Sachin".
The silence, the shocked and upset faces and the TV commercials, that generally follow a dismissal, were all missing as all eyes, and the camera, followed Sachin like a shadow.
Tendulkar went on to make 38 runs and remained unbeaten at the close of the day's play with millions hoping that when he comes to play on Friday he will go on to score the century everyone's been hoping for.
With the Sachin craze engulfing the nation, social media wasn't left much far behind. Facebook and Twitter were inundated with Sachin related posts and hashtags. And the case was such not just on Thursday, but the entire week.
On Twitter, it started with #ThankYouSachin, a hashtag started by the BCCI, and went to many similar trends like #SachinSachin, #Sachin, #SRT200, etc. Thousands of fans tweeted their love for Sachin, their requests and their hopes with unmatched enthusiasm, displaying their immense faith in the god of cricket.
Facebook had its fair share of status updates, first in anticipation and later in appreciation of Sachin. Number of pages and events dedicated to Sachin were doing rounds and so were memes.
Hindustan Times asked its readers to share their favourite Sachin moments via Twitter and Facebook, and the response was overwhelming. Through comments, messages and tweets people shared with us their favourite moments and experiences.
"Six to Andrew Caddick in 2003 WORLD CUP...!!! Awesome" quipped Dhiraj Kumar, talking about the shot that marked Tendulkar's comeback after a tough phase, and he wasn't the only to have declared this shot as his favourite.
Another favourite among the readers was his innings against Pakistan in the same World Cup. In the words of Neha Sharma, "The 2003 world cup match against Pakistan, where he derailed the Shoaib 'rawalpindi' express."
Vinay Shekhar shared another favourite - "When he took Inzamam Ul Haq's catch close to the boundary during India's tour of Pakistan in 2004. Awesome!"
Many shared personal moments like, "The four sixes that he hit off an Abdul Qadir over in his debut series in that abandoned (later converted to a 20 over a side exhibition match) ODI in Peshawar (1989). I was 15 years old then and watching that live on DD1" (Soyuz Sharma).
"I was once watching the innings of 175 vs aus and it felt as if I was there," wrote Deepak Tah.
Another fan Gk Shaw shared a rather special memory. "I was at Eden Gardens, Kolkata. Got sachin's autograph by help of ball boy, priceless for me.Genius, Giant, Gentleman. A truly long & strong performer that inspire the world." he wrote.
Many others were of the opinion that they didn't need a special memory of Sachin. "Every match every six every run all in one Sachin.. Sachin..," wrote Sainki Kumar. "I dnt think that it needs a special moment 2 cheer for #sâçhïn...." wrote another (Invincible Sourav Gurnani).
But then there were some for whom mere comments weren't enough.
Such is the craze for the man who has entertained the country with some brilliant cricket for 24 years. Twitter was not behind by any margin. Here are some tweets that speak volumes about the Sachin-mania that had twiterati in its grip.
Now, as Sachin comes to bat on Friday the excitement is only going to increase much more. So we asked our readers if they expected him to score a century and like Rahul Mishra who said, "Yes no doubt" most responded in the affirmative.
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