No joy for Sachin in first knock

No joy for Sachin in first knock

Master falls for five but Mumbai take control

No joy for Sachin in first knock

Eight minutes was all it took to end the frenzied euphoria of the packed gathering at the Choudhary Bansi Lal Cricket Stadium on Sunday.

Five minutes into the final session of the first day’s play, Mohit Sharma’s delivery grazed the elbow of Sachin Tendulkar and deflected onto the stumps. Much to the chagrin of the crowd, Tendulkar, who scored five runs off seven balls, walked back to the hut, bat firmly tucked under his arm.

The sinking feeling of a genius on his last mile pervaded, and the fans, who jostled in the galleries to sneak a glance of the master, made their way to the exit. For the rest of the day, Mumbai batted to near empty stands, ending the day at 100/4 with Ajinkya Rahane batting on 44 and Dhawal Kulkarni on 1. Mumbai trail by 34 runs. Earlier, Abhishek Nayar took four wickets as Mumbai bundled out Haryana for 134 in their first innings.

The silence towards the end was in stark contrast to the din in the morning and post-lunch sessions. The eight-thousand capacity stadium was packed to the board to watch Tendulkar on field after Mumbai put Haryana in. The grassy pitch here lived up to its reputation with the ball darting around.

Mumbai bowlers, led by Nayar (4-38) and Javed Khan (2-12), lured Haryana into false shots which resulted in edges flying thick and fast.

The slow outfield made boundaries scarce and Haryana slumped to 16/3. Skipper Ajay Jadeja lent brief assurance but once he edged Javed, Haryana’s slide was imminent. Mohit’s spirited 49 at No 10, however, gave Haryana innings something to cheer towards the end.

The anticipation to witness Tendulkar bat was heightened by the time Wasim Jaffer and Kaustubh Pawar turned out to open Mumbai innings. Both were back when Mumbai were on 32, and the crowds’ roar reaching the crescendo when Jaffer flicked Joginder Sharma to Abhimnayu Khod at mid-on. Jaffer would not have got such a send off even on a foreign land!

 It was quite a spectacle to watch Tendulkar come out of the dressing room -- the master taking measured steps towards the crease, and shadow practicing in the backdrop of screaming spectators. Facing Joginder Sharma, he shouldered arms to a couple of away going deliveries before producing his vintage and silken straight drive to the fence. There are few who can play it better.

The tea break brought an abrupt halt and when Tendulkar returned, his stay lasted just five minutes. It drew collective gasps of disappointment before a standing ovation betrayed the love and admiration of the thousands who had relished seeing him play over the years. Among those who left the venue on his dismissal was former India batsman VVS Laxman, who was here specially to watch Tendulkar bat.

His departure though shifted the focus back to the match and Mumbai were struggling at 34/3. Ajinkya Rahane and Nayar resuscitated the innings with a 56-run fourth-wicket stand.

Mohit, the hero of the day, once again broke the partnership when he had Nayar caught at gully. It was supposed to be Tendulkar’s day but Mohit, with his sterling performance, took a slice off it.

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