TENDULKAR EXITS FOR 74, INDIA BUILD LEAD MUMBAI (TIP): Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara, two of India’s brightest young talents, were pummelling West Indies into submission at the Wankhede stadium on the second morning, but cricket had rarely felt this anti-climactic for Indian fans. During the first hour, however, Test cricket had rarely felt so alive. With Sachin Tendulkar playing what could be his final Test innings, his legion of fans were put through the emotional wringer. This whole series has been drenched in Tendulkar nostalgia, and every vintage shot he played today only highlighted what fans are going to miss in the days ahead. Every mis-step – like the two attempted upper cuts – caused massive anxiety. Fans were uncertain whether they wanted Tendulkar to be on strike – so they could lap up a few more of his shots – or at the non-striker’s end as the tension was close to unbearable when he batted.

The assuredness with which Tendulkar played had made it seem inevitable that there would be a fairytale century in his final Test. The year-long wait for the 100th hundred should have taught Indian fans to be wary about expecting fairytale Tendulkar centuries and like at the Wankhede in 2011, a slip catch from Darren Sammy cut short Tendulkar’s innings on 74 and stunned a frenzied crowd into silence. The mute-button was on only for a few moments though, as the crowd regained its voice to appreciatively roar Tendulkar off the field. Tendulkar muttered a few words to himself, but as has been the case over virtually his entire career, he maintained his poise after being dismissed, acknowledging the adoring crowds as he trudged off.

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