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Sourav Ganguly predicts, Sachin Tendulkar depicts

Last updated on: December 5, 2012 22:16 IST

Ganguly predicts, Tendulkar depicts

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Sourav Ganguly had Sachin Tendulkar for company during his entire playing career. Besides captaining Tendulkar, Dada, as Ganguly is fondly referred to, also played under the captaincy of the Master Blaster.

- Scorecard: India v England, 3rd Test

No points for guessing that the Bengal southpaw has a soft corner for Tendulkar and is considerably lenient and hopeful when it comes to expressing his opinion about the Mumbai batsman.

- PHOTOS: England dominate on Day 1

To say that Tendulkar is the biggest disappointment for Team India in the series so far would be stating the obvious. The batsman scored just 29 runs (@ 9.67) in the first two Tests, this after failing in the preceding home series against New Zealand, where he returned 63 runs in two matches (@ 21).

Ganguly, though, remained hopeful.

"We tend to undermine Tendulkar," he said, adding, "But look at the positives.

"What he has done for India no one has. He is a proven match-winner."

With Tendulkar going through a rough patch for almost a year now -- aggregating a measly 274 runs in seven Tests (@ 22.83), and many calling for his retirement, every passing Test was increasingly becoming a 'test' for the batsman. He got tired of reiterating the same line: 'I'll continue to play till I enjoy the game'.

At 39, age is definitely not on Tendulkar's side.

The third Test against England at the Eden Gardens, therefore, was always going to be crucial for him; he had to deliver.


Image: Sachin Tendulkar walks in to bat on Day 1 of the third Test at the Eden Gardens
Photographs: BCCI

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The historic venue had been a happy hunting ground for Tendulkar thus far, with the batsman aggregating 781 runs in his previous 11 Tests, at a very healthy average (48.81).

And Ganguly, aware of the same, not only pointed out what the Master Blaster needed to do to get back among the runs, but also how he could be helped.

"The wicket has to be good," remarked Ganguly, referring to the Eden track.

"When a batsman is going through a bad phase the pitch has to be good," he added.

The former captain got his wish fulfilled.

Prabir Mukherjee, having been in disagreement with MS Dhoni coming into the game, eventually had his way and made what looked a flat track, conducive for batsmen.

When asked what Tendulkar needs to do to be among the runs, Ganguly was forthright.

"He needs to stay at the wicket," he said.

"If he scores those 20 or 30 runs initially he can proceed to play a good innings," added Ganguly.


Image: Tendulkar in full flow at the Eden Gardens on Wednesday
Photographs: BCCI

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With Dhoni winning the toss the stage was set. Team India losing a few quick wickets meant Tendulkar had ample time to negotiate. He started slowly, struggling for his timing early on.

However, he gained in confidence as the day progressed, successive boundaries off James Anderson helping him become India's all-time highest run scorer against England, besting Sunil Gavaskar (2483 runs in 38 Tests) in seven fewer Tests.

Two boundaries off Graeme Swann helped the Master Blaster inch closer to his fifty

Then arrived the moment: the first ball of the day's final session. Steven Finn was guilty of drifting towards the leg side and Tendulkar obliged, a boundary towards long leg helping him reach his 66th Test fifty, his 13th against the visitors.

More importantly, it was the master's first half century in almost a year, since he scored 80 against Australia in the second innings in Sydney, early in January.

It had been six Tests and 10 innings since. The dry run was impossible to comprehend, a reality nonetheless.


Image: Tendulkar acknowledges the applause after getting to fifty
Photographs: BCCI

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