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HindustanTimes Thu,23 Oct 2014

Kolkata Test: all eyes on Sachin Tendulkar today

Agencies  Kolkata, November 07, 2013
First Published: 01:15 IST(7/11/2013) | Last Updated: 08:43 IST(7/11/2013)

Sachin Tendulkar fans will hope to see the maestro bat on Thursday in his penultimate match of competitive cricket at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata against West Indies as India chase a first innings total of 234.

Fans in Kolkata were left disappointed on Wednesday as they could not watch him bat on the opening day, but they got something to cheer about when a tricky delivery from Tendulkar trapped West Indies batsman Shane Shillingford LBW.

Thousands trooped into Eden Gardens on Wednesday to see the Master Blaster play his penultimate Test match. For some, the experience was equivalent to a "pilgrimage", while for others it was "an experience of a lifetime".

"It is an experience of a lifetime. We are here for Sachin. Even if he doesn't score a century we won't mind. We just want to watch him play for the last time," said a fan at the venue on Wednesday.

Shouting 'Sachin Sachin' on the top of their voices and vigorously waving the Indian tri-colour, a festive atmosphere engulfed the stadium all of a sudden as Shillingford was adjudged LBW off Tendulkar on five in the 63rd over at the Eden Gardens.

This was his 46th Test wicket.

In the two overs he bowled, Tendulkar gave only five runs, while grabbing a wicket.

It was at the same venue Tendulkar had conceded just three runs in the last over in the Hero Cup semifinal in November 1993 to deny South Africa a win.

On Thursday however, his die-hard fans would love to see him get a chance to bat and score big, perhaps even a century.

However, dry statistics make the task look uphill. Tendulkar has been without a century for 39 innings and two years and ten months. He has only two fifty-plus scores in his last 20 innings.

But the ageing warhorse, who holds all the important batting records - most number of hundreds, maximum appearances, most runs - has awed fans with his application repeatedly in the past, and he has it in him to do it again.

The two-Test series against the West Indies will bring down the curtains on Tendulkar's illustrious 24-year-long career. The cricketer will be playing his 199th Test in Kolkata and his 200th and last match at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai November 14-18.

India scored 37 runs in the 12 overs they played on Wednesday without losing either of the openers. They trail West Indies by 197 runs in the first innings.


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