The 100th ton will have to wait...Sachin disappoints yet again
Sachin Tendulkar has missed out again!
The Master Blaster fell six short of the eagerly-awaited 'century of centuries'. Ravi Rampaul had him caught by Darren Sammy at second slip to disappoint the hordes of fans that turned up in the last two days to watch the 'Master' score that 100th hundred.
Their hero failed them yet again!
In his maiden Test innings this year, against South Africa at Newlands, Tendulkar scored another hundred (146). It was his 97th international ton.
No 98 and 99 came during the World Cup -- 120 against England in Bangalore, followed by 111 versus South Africa in Nagpur (on March 12).
Image: Sachin Tendulkar
Long wait brings despair to fans
Thereafter, it was a long wait, one that brought despair to the fans with each passing innings.
There were a few hopes raised along the way.
In an otherwise forgettable tour of England, Tendulkar scored 91 in the second innings of the fourth and final Test at The Oval before Tim Bresnan's delivery crashed onto his pads.
Similarly, in the first Test of the ongoing series at the Ferozshah Kotla, he scored 76, completing 15, 000 Test runs in the process (when on 28).
However, just when fans started celebrating, in anticipation of the impending milestone, Devendra Bishoo cut it short.
For Sachin 'it is just a number'
The Master had dismissed the pressure of expectations, saying 'it is just a number'. However, deep inside he definitely felt the pressure to deliver. He might be the 'God of Cricket' for his many fans, but he is, after all, a human being.
Each time he failed during this period, the frustration of his many fans only increased. However, at no point it could end their excitement, the anticipation with which they waited for the day to arrive.
Even as the West Indies batted for the opening two days of this third Test, the crowds were conspicuous by their absence. However, on the third morning people came in droves (20,000 was the official figure), to see their hero score that elusive ton.
Little Master so near, yet so far
At the end of the day, they were left disappointed, albeit not entirely. The Master couldn't score the hundred alright, but he remained unbeaten on 67, keeping alive the many hopes.
On Friday their prayers were almost heard; their wish almost fulfilled. The many months of frustration nearly gave way to moments of celebration.
It was a case of so near, yet so far.
The Tendulkar saga had yet again ended in an anti-climax.