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Is Tendulkar on the decline?

Last updated on: September 4, 2012 08:27 IST

Is Tendulkar on the decline?

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Surprising it may seem, but batting icon Sachin Tendulkar's defence was breached thrice in a row in the just-concluded Test series against New Zealand, which India won 2-0 on Monday.

After being bowled in the first innings in the first Test in Hyderabad, and the first innings in Bangalore, Tim Southee made it three straight bowled dismissals against the master batsman's name when he uprooted his middle stump on the fourth day of the second Test.

Never before had the 39-year-old been dismissed bowled in both innings of a home Test.

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Image: New Zealand's Tim Southee celebrates
Photographs: REUTERS/Vivek Prakash

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The last time he was dismissed bowled in three consecutive innings was in 2002 against England -- his tormentors being Matthew Hoggard, Dominic Cork and Michael Vaughan.

Monday's dismissal was the fourth instance in his 21-year career that he was out in this fashion.

Indeed, by his high standards, it was a poor series for Tendulkar, particularly as he was up against a mediocre Kiwi attack.

In the first Test Trent Boult cleaned him up for just 19, uprooting the middle stump. Then, in the first innings of the second Test, Doug Bracewell breached his defence, finding the gap between his bat and pads.

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Image: India's Sachin Tendulkar is bowled by New Zealand's Doug Bracewell
Photographs: REUTERS/Vivek Prakash

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The ace batsman's agony was complete when Tim Southee knocked his middle stump off after clipping his pad with a delivery that came back into the right-hander.

How frustrated was Tendulkar was evident from his reaction as raised his bat and admonished himself.

Tendulkar, who has scored 15,489 in 189 Tests for an average of 55.31 prior to this match, has now being bowled 51 times in Test cricket. Rahul Dravid (55) and Allan Border (53) are atop that list.

Does the sequence of bowled dismissals indicate that age is catching up with the game's highest run-getter? Or is his technique falling apart?

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Image: India's Sachin Tendulkar reacts after being bowled by New Zealand's Doug Bracewell
Photographs: REUTERS/Vivek Prakash

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