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Sachin's Eden send-off: Llong... and the short of it!

November 08, 2013 21:12 IST

Sachin's Eden send-off: Llong... and the short of it!

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Bikash Mohapatra

Umpire Nigel Llong inadvertently had a role to play in two key moments of the legend’s last Test appearance at the Eden Gardens. The second, says Bikash Mohapatra, will ensure he won’t be a popular figure in India for some time to come.

So the celebrations surrounding Sachin Tendulkar’s 199th Test at the EdenGardens had a premature end. The early finish to the first Test against the West Indies was also a dampener to some of the ambitious plans the West Bengal government had to honour the batting legend.

For that matter, the Chief Minister (Mamata Banerjee) felicitating the player had to be brought forward by a day, as the match got over much earlier than expected – even earlier than the fourth day the organisers had scheduled it, perhaps anticipating the West Indies to fold up by then.

Besides, the manner in which the local media kept highlighting the many goof-ups by the Cricket Association of Bengal, prompting the body to issue official apologies on more occasions than one, definitely took some colour off the celebrations.


Image: Sachin Tendulkar
Photographs: BCCI

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Sachin's Eden send-off: Llong... and the short of it!

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Bikash Mohapatra

Though Kolkata’s passionate fans were in a state of delirium for about a week or so, in the build up and during the match, they just didn't have enough of the Master Blaster.

To their credit, though, they made the most of whatever little opportunity they had. 

While loud cheers were reserved when Tendulkar entered the ground or made a good stop in the outfield, the real applause was reserved for the real show.


Photographs: BCCI

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Sachin's Eden send-off: Llong... and the short of it!

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Bikash Mohapatra

On the opening day, fans finally got to see the master perform, when he bowled the last over after tea.

And their hero did not disappoint them. Tendulkar struck with his fourth delivery, one with which he got Shane Shillingford out leg before. On his part, the bowler had given the ball ample flight and it dipped and hit the batsman straight on the pad.

Television replays suggested Shillingford could have survived. The ball hit him higher and did not merit a leg before decision. The umpire, Nigel Llong, didn’t think so.

To the fans, however, it hardly mattered. They celebrated even as tea was taken immediately after.


Image: Sourav Ganguly greets Sachin Tendulkar
Photographs: BCCI

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Sachin's Eden send-off: Llong... and the short of it!

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Bikash Mohapatra

For the record, it was Tendulkar’s 46th Test wicket, coming a good two years after he took his last -- that of South Africa’s Mark Boucher (also out leg before).

It also ensured the Master 200 international wickets, the 40-year-old having taken 154 wickets in the shorter version of the game.

On the second day, Tendulkar came out to bat earlier than expected, India having lost both the openers without much on the board. That brought the crowd on its feet.

He started out with two boundaries in a Shillingford over. The decibel levels increased, but it was Shillingford who had the last laugh, foxing the batsman with a doosra.


Image: Sachin Tendulkar
Photographs: BCCI

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Sachin's Eden send-off: Llong... and the short of it!

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Bikash Mohapatra

The batsman scored 10 in his final innings at the venue and finished with an aggregate of 872 runs in 13 Tests (@45.89) at the Eden Gardens. His stay at the crease lasted all of 41 minutes.

However, there was a disappointing twist.

The replays indicated that the ball would have gone over the stumps, that it had hit the back leg quite high, that it did not merit a leg before decision. That Tendulkar was not out.

Umpire Llong didn’t think so.

The Englishman had inadvertently played a role in both the major moments in the legend’s last Test appearance at the Eden, the second one ensuring he won’t be a popular figure in India for some time to come.


Image: Sachin Tendulkar
Photographs: BCCI

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