New Delhi: The hopes of all Indian fans sitting at the jam-packed Oval was shattered when master blaster Sachin Tendulkar again missed his much anticipated ‘century of centuries’.

After raising hopes of recording the mega milestone, Sachin Tendulkar fell agonisingly short of the mark leaving a billion hopes shattered. He had one last chance on Monday, but his gallant effort was not enough and he gave up at Ovals.

A series without a Tendulkar century is as incomplete as Wimbledon without strawberries but then it is not always as it ought to be. Tendulkar was playing probably his last Test in England and he had a perfect stage to sign it off in style. He held the fortress and showed the glimpse of match saviour when all the Indian batsmen bowed down before the English attack.

The primary goal was to save the Test, as India wanted to end it with 3-0 but a shoddy lift of the bat by Mishra was the turning point and after that England axed the Indian hopes. The remaining six scalped for England came by just giving 21 runs.

Sachin got plumed off Tim Bresnan’s in swinger delivery and departed in nervous nineties. This was the 27th time when the India’s batting maestro was deprived of hitting a century in his international career. He is also the only player to have been dismissed for 99 three times in international cricket.

On a fast wearing wicket, he and his companion Amit Mishra, who resumed batting as a night watchman flourished the Indian innings, did a healthy 144 runs partnership for the fourth wicket. 

Resuming at 35 with Mishra, Tendulkar showed enormous restraint on Monday. He survived the first session with a typical Sachin’s style. He read the ball well, played his shots. He also guided Mishra on how to handle the situation and the duo continued to trouble England bowlers.

Tendulkar got a few reprieves also, one by Alastair Cook at the forward short leg and another by Matt Prior behind the wickets. But in the end, he was not lucky enough to get to the milestone and, more importantly, save the Test for India.

The 172-ball knock did not hear the typical Tendulkar’s class but it showed the God’s desire for cricket. He dug deep and tried to save the Test for India, but was unlucky to have a dubious leg-before decision from Australian umpire Rod Tucker.

(AmitKumar/JPN)