Sachin Tendulkar was dismissed for 74, falling short of a fairytale win in what may have been the legendary Indian batsman’s last innings.
Just as expectations were rising for his 101st international century, Tendulkar knicked a Narsingh Deonarine delivery to West Indies skipper Darren Sammy to leave Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium crowd in stunned silence.
Tendulkar walked off with his bat raised to a standing ovation.
It was a sudden end on Friday to what had been building as successful innings.
“He has crossed boundaries, meant something to everyone, which is why you see such outpouring of emotion,” Rahul Dravid, former India captain, said in local television commentary on Friday.
“He has touched the lives of so many people over the years.”
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.
“It was disappointing to see him get out but he played some incredible drives,” said Yuvraj Singh, India all-rounder, who made a guest appearance in the commentary box.
“When he walked in, how everyone cheered for him, well that was just amazing to see – the love of people for him.”
There is a chance he could bat again, but that depends on the course of the match over the next three days.
Tendulkar had resumed on the 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”, as he is known, did not disappoint them as he played a classic innings to immense applause and familiar chants of “Sachin, Sachin”.
Tendulkar drove 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 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, 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.
The 40-year-old is ending an international career spanning nearly a quarter of a century during which he became the all-time leading Test and one-day batsman and the only man to score 100 international centuries.
The last of the Little Master, who has almost God-like status in his cricket-mad country, has been met with nationwide nostalgia for his sporting feats since his international debut in 1989.
Prominent politicians, actors and sportsmen have turned out to watch Tendulkar’s final match.
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.