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15 Nov 2013 09:37
Tendulkar walked off with his bat raised to acknowledge the rousing ovation. (Reuters)
Sachin Tendulkar was dismissed for 74, thwarting rising expectations of a 101st international century and immediately raising the question Friday among millions of loyal fans: could that have been the master Indian batsman's last innings?
Tendulkar was caught well by West Indian skipper Darren Sammy at slip to give off-spinner Narsingh Deonarine an unexpected wicket, stunning the home crowd into silence at the Wankhede Stadium.
They were there to see the greatest cricketer of his generation playing his very last international game.
And Tendulkar walked off with his bat raised to acknowledge the rousing ovation.
It was a sudden end to what had been building as a fairytale innings.
Tendulkar smashed 12 fours and faced 118 balls, playing both spin and pace bowlers with ease and executing several shots that he has been famous for - the straight drive, cover drive and the paddle-sweep.
There's a chance he could bat again, but that depends on the state of the match over the next three days.
Tendulkar had resumed second day of the second test between India and the West Indies on 38 after an evening cameo on day one.
And the Little Master did not disappoint them as he played a classic innings to immense applause and familiar chants of "Sachin, Sachin."
The 40-year-old Tendulkar drove a Best ball to the boundary to glide past 50 and then raised his bat to an ecstatic crowd and global TV audience in the millions.
Earlier, he'd smashed consecutive boundaries from offspinner Shane Shillingford to set the tone for the day - cutting a short ball through point and then executing a vintage paddle-sweep.
When on 47, he survived a big appeal for caught behind off Best, much to the relief of his fans.
Not long later, he hit an off drive to the boundary to raise yet another half century.
The most prolific batsman in international cricket walked onto the field to a rousing reception Friday, with people still pouring into the stands.
That was on top of those who had arrived early enough to watch Tendulkar knock the ball around in practice and speak to former Australia legspinner Shane Warne, who is part of the television commentary team.
The atmosphere at the stadium remained intense after the opening day that saw Tendulkar fans losing no opportunity to show their devotion.
Spectators had their faces painted in the green, white and orange colours of the Indian flag with either "Sachin" or "200" written on their foreheads to commemorate his 200th and last test match.
They also waved placards reading "Thanks for all the memories Sachin, we will miss you" and "Sach is my life" in praise of the batsman who holds most of major batting records including the most runs and centuries in both tests and limited-overs international cricket.
Tendulkar became the first batsman to score a double-century in one-day internationals when he reached 200 not out against South Africa at Gwalior in 2010.
The feat of 100 international centuries was completed against host Bangladesh during the 2012 Asia Cup.
Prominent politicians, actors and sportsmen have turned out to watch Tendulkar's final match which is being played in a festive atmosphere.
While Tendulkar's retirement is huge news in India and other parts of the cricket world, his final match was not covered by many news outlets in text or photos because of an ongoing dispute with cricket's organisers in India.
For the past 18 months, the BCCI has prohibited certain photo-only agencies, such as Getty, from covering cricket matches.
Because of that, several news agencies, including The Associated Press (AP) and Reuters, have declined to cover BCCI-run cricket events.
The News Media Coalition, a consortium of news outlets including the AP, has been attempting to negotiate an agreement with the BCCI.
Many agencies covered Tendulkar's departure from outside the stadium and on the streets of Mumbai – Sapa-AP
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