Tedulkar Farewell Series: West Indies Scuttled Out For 182, Sachin Tendulkar Batting!

Pragyan Ojha 5 for 40

Mumbai, Day 1: Indian captain MS Dhoni surprised many and disappointed more by electing to field first after wining the toss in Sachin Tendulkar’s 200th and the second and final Test against West Indies in Mumbai today. The Wankhede track is known to take turn from the 3rd or 4th day making things difficult for the team batting last. However, it is also known to contain some juice and Dhoni perhaps wanted to exploit early morning conditions with his new look fast bowler pair Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami. Had the catches been taken early on the Indian captain’s decision could have been justified immediately. Finally, on the first day itself the crowds had the best of both worlds. They witnessed their team dominate West Indies completely and relished the retiring legend coming in to bat remaining unbeaten at stumps.

The Indian fast bowlers, particularly Shami, maintained tight line and length reaching the speeds of around 145km per hour. Shami got the danger man Chris Gayle (11) out early while quite a few catches were dropped at slips of Kieran Powell (48—highest individual score) and DM Bravo (29).  But the spinner duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha clicked immediately compensating for the lost chances. It was surprising to see the ball spinning and keeping low right on the first day. West Indies had had another unpredictable collapse with not partnership building up and not even a single half century in the entire innings. West Indies could not last even two full sessions and got all out for a paltry 182 before tea break. Ojha had the best figure of 5 for 40, Ashwin 3 for 45 and the pacers with one each.

India started on a brisk note with openers Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay notching up 77 runs in almost one-day style. And then in the 14th over off spinner Shillingford struck twice getting both openers out. Cheteshwar Pujara came in his usual position and with 2 wickets down for 77 there was pin drop silence and suspense around the stadium. With more than twenty overs left for the day a night watchman could not possible be sent in. It was also too risky to send in Tendulkar as billion hopes were associated with his batting, possibly for the last time ever as India was set on course for a big lead like in the first Test in Kolkata.

Sachin Walks In To Bat Perhaps For Last Time
But it was indeed Sachin Tendulkar who came in with crowds loving the moment. Tendulkar too seemed to have understood the urgency of the billion hopes and batted cautiously slowly and steadily opening out and finding his rhythm. The master-blaster remained unbeaten at 38 with Pujara not out on 34 and India at 157/2 trailing just by 25 runs. The Scorecard:

Since early morning today the atmosphere in and around Wankhede Stadium was charged with admiration and passion demonstrated spontaneously by fans, cricket organizers and ex-players and huge number of media crews for the cricket legend who was playing his 200th and last Test on his home ground. He was felicitated with memento by the cricket Board; Dhoni presented him a cap with 200 embossed over it; the coin for the toss was also special with Sachin Tendulkar’s photo on it and the Indian Posts and Telegraphs issued today a special stamp in his honor.

His cricket fans all over India and the world at the moment are pinning their hopes on their beloved player to deliver a strong and fitting farewell knock tomorrow, the 101st international century most preferably.  


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