Tendulkar falls short of crease, fansí expectations

Sachin Tendulkar

The quiet Wankhede Stadium started buzzing suddenly after Mumbai lost No.3 Aditya Tare. The loud cheers were not for Saurashtra managing to get their second wicket of the day, but for Sachin Tendulkar walking in with his bat, gloves and freeing his shoulder sockets walking to the crease.

The roaring welcome from crowds in India has been pretty much a ritual for the past two decades. The last time he'd batted here against Baroda, Tendulkar had scored a hundred and it was inevitable that his loyal fans would expect another in the final of Ranji Trophy.

Saurya Sanandiya's first delivery to Tendulkar was short of length and the maestro let it go. The second curved in, short again, and Tendulkar jutted his pads out this time offering no stroke. There was a loud lbw appeal from Saurashtra, dismissed by the umpire.

Sanandiya kept it back of length and managed to swing the ball away, Tendulkar going for a drive and missing.

The first over had been challenging and the veteran batsman was soon stretching his legs before leaving the Saurashtra pacer's final ball. 14 balls at the crease and Tendulkar's score still read 0 pointing to a circumspect start. He finally managed to get off the mark, tucking one from Jaydev Unadkat away on the leg side, and the crowd was back in action, roaring 'Sachin-Sachin' once again.

Flashes of brilliance

With a snap of a finger, Tendulkar was soon back to looking like his old graceful self. An off-drive teased the bowler and taunted the mid-off for four and soon Tendulkar was using his wrists nicely to find a gap between mid-wicket and mid-on. He paddle swept Kamlesh Makvana's first ball and soon many expected another big one from Tendulkar, who after the initial stutter had reached 22.

After facing 41 balls and spending more than an hour at the crease, Tendulkar pushed one for a single to point. He called for one but Jaffer, batting on 95 then, clearly didn't look like he wanted it. Tendulkar trying to retrace his steps was too late as Makvana's throw to the wicket-keeper Sagar Jogyani came in a flash, and the latter hit the stumps in time leaving the batting great short of the crease.

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