India win series, lose Tendulkar

The maestro's final international outing comes with victory and an understandable outpouring of emotion.

The last walk back is always the toughest.
MUMBAI: As India were performing the last rites on yet another spineless
West Indian innings,Anjali Tendulkar, taking in her husband’s final day in
international cricket from the stands, admitted that he belonged first to
 Mumbai and India, and only then to his family. It was an admission she
needn’t have made – for Tendulkar became part of the national discourse
 far earlier than he gave himself up to nuptial ties. On Saturday, although
the maestro wasn’t required to bat again in his side’s demolition of the visitors
by an innings and 126 runs, Tendulkar patrolled the boundary with the zeal of
a debutant, storming into the circle to celebrate each time a wicket fell.
There was this hope that an irritating partnership at some stage may compel
MS Dhoni to throw the ball to Tendulkar and let him work those fast leg-spinners
 that have broken many a nagging stand over the years. The nagging stand
proved to be beyond the West Indies. But at 162/8, with the first session
extended in view of an impending Indian victory, Tendulkar got to turn his arm
over for twelve deliveries. Alas, a wicket eluded him. But Man of the Match
Pragyan Ojha (5/49, 10/89 for the match) and R. Ashwin (4/89) had done
enough to set up India's sixth successive victory in Tests, which was also
Tendulkar's 72nd with the side.
No sooner did Mohammad Shami flatten last man Shannon Gabriel's furniture
with a late in-swinger, Tendulkar raced to the pitch and uprooted a stump. He
was then accorded what Harsha Bhogle termed a 'mobile Guard of Honour' on
his was back, the floppy hat concealing an outpouring of emotion that a hand to
the eye revealed. He paused for a moment at the top of the stairs to wave the
stump at the crowd, before disappearing from view.
Poor seriesTendulkar's farewell aside, the series was a remarkably poor advertisement
for Test cricket, a misnomer of a contest between mis-matched teams:  the
Windies did not last three days at either Kolkata or Mumbai and failed to reach
250 in four innings. They resumed on 42/3 on Saturday morning and were
shot out in less than 35 overs. Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels began in a
tearing hurry – as if a few overs of lusty hitting was all that stood between
them and safety. Four boundaries came off an Ashwin over, and Gayle
massacred Ojha for a towering six. 
It was when the total (too grandiose a term, really, for the West Indian
score!) reached 74 – precisely as many as Tendulkar had made in his last
 essay – that the slide was initiated. 
Another slideSamuels, influenced by god-only-knows what chemical reactions in his brain,
 sprung out of the crease to Ojha. The ball spun away, beat the batsman, and
Dhoni did the rest. Having asserted momentary supremacy with a huge hit,
Gayle (35) failed to capitalize, and perished to the edge against a faster one
from the left-arm spinner, Dhoni snapping up another good catch behind the

Ojha’s third of the morning came the easiest. Narsingh Deonarine, having
established his place in the almanacs, popped back the simplest of return
catches, the Windies descending to 90/6, the match heading for a hasty
termination even before lunch on the third day. 
Shivnarine Chanderpaul, playing a most neglected 150th Test match, and
Denesh Ramdin delayed the inevitable with a 68-run alliance, before Chanderpaul
was trapped in front by Ashwin with one that hurried straight on. Darren
Sammy became Ojha's fifth (and 10th of the match). But you don't want to go
into the gory details. Not here. Not in this series. Maybe against South Africa in
a month's time.
India win series, lose Tendulkar India win series, lose Tendulkar Reviewed by Govind Dasila on 5:54 PM Rating: 5

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