For those with a nose for numbers, here's something interesting. Sachin Tendulkar took 17 balls on Thursday to score the seven runs he needed to reach 17,000 ODI runs. The capacity crowd at Rajiv Gandhi International stadium didn't have much to cheer till then and broke into a roar which drowned the voice of the deejay on the loudspeaker.
Being the world record holder for most ODI runs for some time now, Tendulkar creates a new mark with every single run he scores. Probably, because he is so used to world records and also because his team had a mountain to climb, the Bradman of the modern era chose to signal for a new bat instead of raising it to the stands.
The way the crowd greeted it was remarkable. They had started gathering well before the start and a barrage of fours and sixes from the Australians was all that they got till then. Not that they didn't appreciate it. They clapped each time the visitors went past personal milestones, but for all the noise that was made, it wasn't straight from the heart. When they finally got the chance to applaud something they wanted, the din was deafening.
There was more in store for them from the master. Despite looking in good touch, he wasn't getting a significant score in this series and was dismissed after getting a start in the last two games. On Thursday, Tendulkar was out to make amends. His 45th ODI hundred had a blend of subtle and stinging strokes and this time, he didn't forget to raise his bat to the roar. Even though for a while, the sight of Tendulkar with head and bat lifted skywards also meant that the 39,000 present had started expecting the unexpected.