Sachin misses, Ashwin shines

Role reversal

This was to have been the day when, at the ground where he took his first baby steps in his remarkable journey to greatness, Sachin Tendulkar was to have kept his date with a historic 100th international century.  Overnight 67, the Mumbaikar attracted fans by the thousa­nds, the tension and electricity palpable as he took guard.

For 39 exhilarating minutes, he wowed the audience with subliminal wizardry to move to 94. Then, as the clock ticked over to 10.09 am, a hush descended on the venue, the crowd losing its voice as Ravi Rampaul elicited a fatal edge off a back-foot punch which was gobbled up by Darren Sammy at second slip.

You could have heard a pin drop. Suddenly, it was as if the third Test, seemingly headed for a draw after four days, had lost all meaning. The crowd felt it had been cheated of its tryst with history, and many started to make their way out. The disappointment found its echo around the nation, as well as in cyber space, with Bollywood stars expressing their feelings via twitter.

“Out on 94 !! Still heartbroken, but full of hope and conviction that he shall get there someday!!” megastar Amitabh Bachchan wrote.

“Sad about Sachin getting out on 94 but the Aussie tour now has an added edge to it... And to get it there, will be priceless!!,” actor-director Farhan Akhtar tweeted.

“Oh no Sachin, damn, so close. Wish u that 100 asap,” actor Arjun Rampal reacted.

Those who stayed back at the venue were rewarded for their patience and perseverance by an absolute gem from an unexpected quarter– a ton by spinner R Ashwin.

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