WICKET! India 354/5 (Pujara ct and b Shillingford 113) The excellent Shillingford gets his fourth wicket. This one was all his own work. Pujara, undone by extra bounce, popped a leading edge straight back to Shillingford, who took a comfortable return catch.
OVER 77: IND 354/4 (Pujara 113* Rohit 23*) Pujara laps Samuels for three. The new ball is due soon, and you would expect West Indies to take it straight away, as much as anything because it should bounce for Shillingford. But they know this game is over. It’s simply a case of dotting Is, crossing Ts and venerating SRT.
OVER 76: IND 351/4 (Pujara 110* Rohit 23*) Rohit Sharma sweeps Shillingford not far short of the man at short fine leg. He currently has a Test average of precisely 200.
OVER 75: IND 350/4 (Pujara 109* Rohit 23*) Marlon Samuels comes to replace Deonarine (10-0-42-1), and a dismal delivery is clattered through the covers for four by Pujara.
OVER 74: IND 342/4 (Pujara 101* Rohit 23*) Rohit Sharma swipes Shillingford miles over long-on, a vaguely awesome stroke, and then steers four more to third man. India are scoring at 4.63 runs per over in this innings, yet at no stage has the aggression felt forced or unnatural. This is modern Test-match batting.
OVER 73: IND 331/4 (Pujara 101* Rohit 12*) That’s Pujara’s century! He sweeps Deonarine for a single to reach his fifth Test hundred – in only 15 matches – and his second on this ground. He shouldn’t be at the crease, but apart from that dubious reprieve on 77 he has played beautifully.
OVER 72: IND 327/4 (Pujara 99* Rohit 10*) Sharma gets a leading edge off Shillingford that loops towards cover. Gayle wheezes after it but can’t get there.
OVER 71: IND 324/4 (Pujara 98* Rohit 8*) Rohit Sharma slams Deonarine through the covers for his first boundary.
OVER 70: IND 318/4 (Pujara 97* Rohit 3*) The new batsman is the out-of-form Rohit Sharma, who has made 386 in his last two innings.
WICKET! India 315-4 (Kohli c Sammy b Shillingford 57) Kohli pulls a piece of rubbish from Shillingford for four – but now he’s gone, caught at slip by Sammy. He felt for a fine arm ball from Shillingford, bowled from around the wicket, and edged a routine catch to Sammy. Kohli’s sparking 57 came from 78 balls.
OVER 69: IND 310/3 (Pujara 96* Kohli 53*) A good over from Deonarine; just one from it. The spinners are getting through the overs at a fair lick just now.
OVER 68: IND 309/3 (Pujara 95* Kohli 53*) Navjot Sidhu is now quoting Shakespeare, or at least his interpretation of Shakespeare. Kohli deflects a good delivery from Shillingford not far wide of his leg stump. India lead by 127.
OVER 67: IND 309/3 (Pujara 95* Kohli 53*)
OVER 66: IND 307/3 (Pujara 94* Kohli 52*) Kohli is dropped by Ramdin, a sharp chance standing up to the stumps. Kohli tried to cut a ball that bounced and cramped him for room. Shillingford has switched to around the wicket now.
OVER 65: IND 307/3 (Pujara 94* Kohli 52*) Every now and then the spinners are getting one to spit off the pitch, which suggests West Indies have precisely 0.00 per cent chance of saving this match in the third innings. It also makes the ease with which India are collecting their runs – 25 in five overs since the interval – almost insulting.
OVER 64: IND 302/3 (Pujara 91* Kohli 50*) Pujara scoops a poor delivery from Shillingford to fine leg for four to bring up the 300. “Never trust a naked man offering his shirt,” says Navjot Sidhu. Kohli turns a single to midwicket to reach an effortlessly brilliant half-century from 53 balls.
OVER 63: IND 295/3 (Pujara 86* Kohli 48*) Navjot Sidhu is in the commentary box, infectiously mangling metaphors in quite spectacular fashion. The ground, after Tendulkar’s dismissal, was “like a soda bottle that had lost its fizz and was flat as a pancake”.
OVER 62: IND 292/3 (Pujara 86* Kohli 45*) Kohli glides Shillingford wide of slip for a couple, a very classy stroke in an over that again yields five runs. India are scoring pretty much at will. Kohli seems determined to pay his own three-figure tribute to Sachin.
OVER 61: IND 287/3 (Pujara 85* Kohli 41*) Hello again. Narsingh Deonarine will start after lunch. Kohli takes five from the over without secreting a solitary bead of sweat. He has played beautifully and has 41 from 39 balls.
Balbir Assra: “To exceed the reputations – and impact – of Amarnath, Pataudi, Gavaskar and Kapil Dev is a very amazing feat. Sachin did that. A walking, talking, cover-driving jewel in the crown… He gave a happy chappy too much pleasure!”
LUNCH: India 282/3 (lead by 100) India rattled along in that session, hitting 125 runs in only 26 overs. The atmosphere is predictably muted, however, because of the dismissal of Sachin Tendulkar just after the drinks break. See you in half an hour for the afternoon session.
OVER 60: IND 282/3 (Pujara 85* Kohli 36*) Kohli gives Shillingford the charge and slams an inside-out covefr drive through for four. He is batting like a lord. But this session was all about the god of Indian cricket, Sachin Tendulkar, who made a beautiful 74 before Narsingh Deonarine pooped the party.
OVER 59: IND 277/3 (Pujara 85* Kohli 31*) A quiet over from Sammy. There are a couple of minutes to lunch.
OVER 58: IND 272/3 (Pujara 85* Kohli 28*) This pair of second-generation galacticos have raced to a fifty partnership inside ten overs. Sachin who?
OVER 57: IND 271/3 (Pujara 84* Kohli 26*) Kohli pushes Sammy through mid off for four, aided by an entirely inept piece of fielding from Best. Later in the over Pujara slams a superb boundary down the ground.
OVER 56: IND 260/3 (Pujara 79* Kohli 20*) Shillingford is bowling with menace again after a modest spell this morning in which he was possibly intimidated by the occasion. India are scoring at a cracking rate, however, and the game is rattling along.
OVER 55: IND 257/3 (Pujara 77* Kohli 19*)
OVER 54: IND 257/3 (Pujara 77* Kohli 19*) West Indies have been robbed here. Pujara was surely caught at short leg by Powell off Shillingford, but it went upstairs to the third umpire Vineet Kulkarni and he eventually gave it not out. The ball popped from a length, a really nasty delivery, and Pujara could only help it towards short leg. Powell stretched forward and just about got his fingers under the ball. Or so we thought. Pujara stood his ground, which is fair enough, and the umpires went upstairs to ensure it was a clean catch. At that point there were umpteen replays, all of which suggested Pujara was out. “Imagine if that was Tendulkar,” deadpanned Rahul Dravid on commentary. With every passing replay – there were around 20 of them – you started to think Pujara might survive. And so he did. The West Indies took the decision remarkably well, because it was a shocker.
OVER 53: IND 249/3 (Pujara 76* Kohli 12*) Pujara edges Gabriel to third man for four. This is his15th Test, and he currently averages a walloping 67. Of those who have played 15 or more Tests, only Sir Donald Bradman averages more.
OVER 52: IND 243/3 (Pujara 71* Kohli 11*) Shillingford, back in the attack, is cut for four by Pujara. There is little of the bite and bounce we saw yesterday – although as I type that Pujara survives a very tricky chance to short leg. The ball hit Powell straight on the boot; it would have been a stunning catch.
OVER 51: IND 237/3 (Pujara 66* Kohli 9*) The game is continuing, although nobody really cares. The crowd have gone predictably quiet. How must Narsingh Deonarine feel, having become a cousin of Eric Hollies? He was taken off straight after that wicket as well.
OVER 50: IND 236/3 (Pujara 66* Kohli 9*) There is a chance we may see Sachin bat again, if India have a small target to chase in the second innings, but the likeliest scenario is that he has played his final Test innings. If so he will end with 15,921 runs at an average of 53.78. Not bad for a shy lad.
OVER 49: IND 231/3 (Pujara 65* Kohli 5*) Yes, you can go back to bed now.
OVER 48: IND 225/3 (Pujara 60* Kohli 4*) That was a charming innings: 74 from 112 balls, with 12 fours. He did not leave the crowd with one last century, but he did give them a thrilling reminder of his glorious pomp.
Credit: Sky Sports screengrab.
WICKET! India 221/3 (Tendulkar c Sammy b Deonarine 74) Silence. Sachin is out, caught brilliantly at slip by Sammy off Deonarine. He tried to cut a ball that was too close for the shot. That came from nowhere, because he looked in total control. There was a wall of silence for a couple of seconds, as the crowd processed what had happened. Then came a slightly stunned applause, and finally the definitive standing ovation. It’s a festival of gratitude. “Thank you, thank you, thank you,” says Sunil Gavaskar on commentary. And like that, he’s gone.
Credit: Sky Sports screengrab.
OVER 47: IND 216/2 (Pujara 58* Tendulkar 71*) After a crazy and wonderful first hour, it’s time for a drinks break.
OVER 46: IND 213/2 (Pujara 55* Tendulkar 71*) Pujara flashes Deonarine through the covers for four. Batting looks as easy as at any stage in the match thus far.
OVER 45: IND 208/2 (Pujara 50* Tendulkar 71*) A double bowling change, with Shannon Gabriel replacing the zesty Best. Pujara squirts a single to reach the most anonymous half-century in Test history, an impressive and accomplished 74-ball effort. That brings Tendulkar on strike, and he times Gabriel through mid-on for another lovely boundary. He needs 29 runs.
OVER 44: IND 201/2 (Pujara 47* Tendulkar 67*) In the two years before this match, Tendulkar averaged 29.59 from 17 Tests with no centuries. That makes this innings even more impressive. He was finished, or so we thought, yet he has somehow been able to summon a performance that could have come from the late 1990s. He is playing like a man in his prime, not in his dotage. The offspinner Narsingh Deonarine comes on to replace Shillingford, who was nowhere near as threatening this morning as yesterday, and Tendulkar thick-edges a couple to move to 67.
OVER 43: IND 199/2 (Pujara 47* Tendulkar 65*) Oh this is gorgeous from Tendulkar, a textbook back-foot extra-cover drive for four off Best that takes him into the sixties. That was sheer delightful cricket. Best continues to steam in however, and Tendulkar pushes one a fraction short of short leg! That was so close; I think it hit the fielder on the boot in fact.
OVER 42: IND 192/2 (Pujara 46* Tendulkar 59*) Tendulkar’s mother – who had never seen him live before yesterday – is at the ground again today. You can’t begin to imagine the pride she must feel. Pujara crunches Shillingford down the ground for four. His biggest fear is surely not the West Indies bowling; it’s the thought of running out Tendulkar.
Credit: Sky Sports screengrab.
OVER 41: IND 184/2 (Pujara 41* Tendulkar 58*) Best produces another nasty short ball which hits Pujara on the glove before falling safely. This is such good bowling, and when the next ball screams past Pujara’s outside edge he yelps with frustration. Later in the next over he again beats Tendulkar’s attempted uppercut. Best kicks the ground, Tendulkar pats him on the arm and Best breaks into a beaming smile. He is loving his role as pantomime villain.
OVER 40: IND 181/2 (Pujara 40* Tendulkar 56*) Another boundary for Sachin, late cut expertly to third man off Shillingford. He hasn’t played this well for a fair while. He surely couldn’t do it, could he? Of course he could you daft beggar, he’s already done it 100 times.
OVER 39: IND 176/2 (Pujara 39* Tendulkar 52*) Tendulkar is beaten again, trying to uppercut an excellent short ball from Best, who punches the air in frustration. He is desperate to dismiss Tendulkar and is adding considerably to the theatre as a result. The next ball is full, in the slot – and Tendulkar drives it magnificently back whence it came for four to bring up his half-century! It’s the 264th time he has gone past fifty in international cricket, just two short of the record set by Kim Barnett. The crowd have completely misplaced the plot.
OVER 38: IND 172/2 (Pujara 39* Tendulkar 48*) A sweep off Shillingford brings Sachin to 48 – and ensures he will be on strike for another over from Tino Best, who is seriously up for this.
OVER 37: IND 168/2 (Pujara 36* Tendulkar 47*) Tendulkar has survived a major scare! He tried to force a short ball Best off the back foot and the ball whistled through to the keeper Ramdin. Best was convinced it was out – he didn’t appeal so much as celebrate – and after a couple of seconds in which India had a collective coronary, the umpire Richard Kettleborough shook his head. It was natural to suspect Kettleborough – the man who bowled to Tendulkar in the Yorkshire nets in 1992 – might have bottled it; in fact replays show it was an outstanding decision. “Imagine if he’d have given it!” chuckles Shane Warne in the commentary box.
OVER 36: IND 167/2 (Pujara 35* Tendulkar 47*) The offspinner Shane Shillingford is the biggest threat to Tendulkar, and all the other Indian batsmen. He starts at the other end to Sachin, who skids back in his crease to back cut beautifully for four and then sweeps round the corner for another boundary next ball! The noise is deafening. It makes a My Bloody Valentine concert seem like background noise by comparison.
OVER 35: IND 159/2 (Pujara 35* Tendulkar 39*) There will be a huge percentage of West Indies fans who want Tendulkar to get his hundred, just as so many England fans wanted Tino Best and Ashton Agar to make their centuries from No11 in 2012 and 2013. (Except the comedy curmudgeon below, whose gang we want to be in.) In fact it’s Tino Best to open the bowling here, with Pujara facing. He flips a single to leg, which prompts a standing ovation by virtue of bringing the great man on strike. This atmosphere is just astonishing. It’s a privilege to experience it via the medium of VLC media player in an office thousands of miles away; goodness knows what it must be like to be there. Tendulkar gets solidly in line to his first delivery, and the crowd celebrates as if he has cured baldess. Then he works a single off the hip. Sixty-one to go. (Or 114 if you want to aim really high; he needs 153 to reach 16,000 Test runs.)
03.58 Here he comes. The noise is on a completely different level to yesterday. The atmosphere, by the standards of any sport anywhere in the world, is sensational.
03.45 Twenty-four years ago today, Sachin Tendulkar made his Test debut. This is the cliched bit where we show you how much the world has changed by telling you what was happening on 15 November 1989
• The Daily Mirror had a scantily clad woman on page 3: Noel Edmonds in drag. “It’s no joke balancing on high heels and dressing up in a skimpy costume,” he said after rehearsals for Saturday Roadshow. “My feet are killing me and when I laugh everything on top wobbles.”
• England’s football team drew 0-0 with Italy (“There’s no way pasta!” said one paper), although the game was not on TV. The BBC had Bergerac at 8pm (“Jim B uncovers a tangled web involving murder and evidence which points to his lady friend Susan as a prime suspect) while, on ITV, Des O’Connor Tonight included interviews with Freddie Starr, Linda Ronstadt and Frank Rains.
• The Berlin Wall was in the process of coming down.
• Most people’s idea of social networking was the pub.
• This was top of the hit parade in the UK.
03.30 Greetings and salutations. Yesterday, India came to a standstill; today, India cannot sit still. Not while Sachin is still in, not while the dream is alive. The entire country is hoping/praying/making the necessary imaginary trade-offs to ensure that Sachin Tendulkar makes a century in his final Test. Yesterday, the hashtag of choice was #ThankYouSachin. Today it’s #PleaseSachin – or, to use its full version, #PleaseSachinpmakeacenturyandsparkthebiggestpartysincethatrager
Tendulkar will resume on 38 not out with India 157/2 in reply to West Indies 182. We had no logical reason to expect Tendulkar to make a century – his last Test hundred was almost three years ago – but the class and calmness with which he started his innings last night suggested it might just be on. It’s easy to get carried away in circumstances like this, and that’s what sports journalists are paid to do, but there really was some divine strokeplay. For a country that adores Tendulkar, the thought of a 101st hundred for India is almost too much to bear. In fact, there’s probably only one person in India who got a decent night’s sleep: Sachin Tendulkar.