Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
“Sachin, Sachin will reverberate in my ears till I stop breathing”
The end of a 24-year legacy has dawned upon the cricketing world as Sachin Tendulkar received a fitting farewell in his 200th and final Test match in his hometown of Mumbai as India decimated the West Indies by an innings and 126 runs.
Tendulkar struck a fluent 74 in his final Test innings yesterday before India’s future stars took over and left the West Indies in deep trouble at the end of the second day.
Starting the third day on 43/3, the West Indies got off to yet another shoddy start as all-rounder Marlon Samuels was stumped by India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni when coming down the pitch and trying to smash a delivery from Pragyan Ojha over long-on.
Ojha struck again just a few overs later when opening batsman Chris Gayle attempted a vicious cut shot, but only ended up getting a thick edge to Dhoni.
Narsingh Deonarine became Ojha’s third victim of the day when he was out caught and bowled for a duck.
West Indies veteran batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who was playing in his 150th Test match, and wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin put together a brilliant 68-run partnership before Chanderpaul was given out lbw off the bowling of Ravichandran Ashwin for 41.
Chanderpaul’s valiant innings of 41 came off 62 balls and included four boundaries.
This is the first time Chanderpaul has failed to score a fifty-plus score from four or more innings since West Indies’ tour of England in 2009.
West Indies skipper Darren Sammy was on his way back to the pavilion the very next over as he too was out lbw, but only off the bowling of Ojha.
Shane Shillingford was the next man to go as he was given out lbw while attempting a sweep shot.
India pace bowler Mohammed Shami wrapped things up in style as he flattened Shannon Gabriel’s middle stump to put the West Indies out of their misery.
Ramdin managed to register a half-century while all this carnage was occurring around him.
Ramdin remained unbeaten on 53 off 68 deliveries, which included eight boundaries and a six, as the West Indies were bowled out for a dreary 187.
Ojha recorded his seventh five-wicket haul, while Ashwin picked up four wickets and Shami chipped in with one.
Ojha’s ten-wicket haul in the match is the first of his Test career and he is the first left-arm spinner to accomplish this feat since Venkatapathy Raju, who took 11 for 125 against Sri Lanka in 1994.
This is also the second-shortest Test India have played in terms of overs bowled and the match ending with a result.
A total of 216.2 overs were bowled in this Test, which is only behind the 202.1 overs bowled in India’s match against Australia at the Wankhede stadium in 2004.
Sammy was extremely disappointed that his side had not been able to play out the full five days.
“Very disappointed,” he said. “We came here hoping to play ,much better. From the West Indies team and people back home, we wish Sachin all the best. The fans in India have set the benchmark on how we should celebrate a hero. It’s a reality check after winning six Tests, India really showed us how to play Test cricket. our batsmen should take a leaf out of Rohit’s book, the way he batted with the No.11. We have to believe in ourselves.”
Dhoni was ecstatic at having whitewashed the West Indies and thanked Tendulkar for being a “role model”.
“It’s a complete performance,” he said. “We were under pressure in the 1st Test. There was not much for the spinners in Kolkata, Shami was brilliant, you want those performances to boost the morale. The lower order clicked. It’s the biggest match in cricketing history. Thanks to Sachin for being such a role model. The way he led his life, there’s plenty to learn for all of us.”
This was Dhoni’s ninth win by an innings as captain and he is now atop the list of Indian skippers with the most wins by an innings.
This was also Dhoni’s 49th Test as captain, equalling Sourav Ganguly’s record for captaining India in more Tests than any other Indian skipper.
Ojha dedicated his Man of the Match award, which he received for taking back-to-back five-wicket hauls, to Tendulkar.
“One of my favourite pitches,” he said. “I keep it very simple and enjoy myself. Ashwin and others did a great job, a special Test and this is for Sachin paaji.”
Rohit Sharma was named Man of the Series for scoring consecutive centuries and finishing with 288 runs at a spectacular average of 288.
Finally, the microphone was passed to Tendulkar, who thanked everybody for supporting him throughout his illustrious 24-year career.
“Friends please settle down, I’ll get more emotional! It’s hard to believe my wonderful journey is coming to an end,” the ‘Little Master’ said. “I’ve a list of names to thank. The first is my father, who passed away in 1999. Without his guidance I wouldn’t be standing in front of you. he said ‘chase your dreams, don’t give up, the path will be difficult.’ I miss him today.
“My mom, I don’t know how she managed a naughty child like me. She just prayed and prayed from the day I started playing the game. For four years I stayed with my uncle and aunt when in school, they treated me like their own son.
“My eldest brother Nitin doesn’t like to talk much but he said, whatever you do, I know you will give 100%. My first cricket bat was presented to me by my sister Savita. She still continues to fast while I bat. Ajit my brother – We have lived this dream together, he sacrificed his career for me, he took me to Achrekar sir first. Even last night he called me to discuss my dismissal. Even when I’m not playing we will still be discussing technique. If that hadn’t happened, I would have been a lesser cricketer.
“The most beautiful thing happened to me when I met Anjali in 1990. I know that being a doctor there was a big career in front of her. But she decided that I should continue playing and she took care of the children. Thanks for bearing with me for all the nonsense I’ve said (Anjali wipes tears). Then the two precious diamonds of my life Sara and Arjun. I’ve missed out on several birthdays, holidays. I know for 14-16 years I’ve not spent enough time with you. But I promise you I will spend the next 16.
“My inlaws – I’ve discussed several things with them. The most important thing they did was allow me to marry Anjali. In the last 24 years my friends have made terrific contributions. They have been with me while I was stressed. They have been with me even at 3am when I was injured. Thanks for being there for me.
“My career started when I was 11. I was extremely delighted to see Achrekar sir in the stands. I used to ride on his scooter and play two matches a day. Sir took me along to make sure I played. On a lighter note, Sir never said ‘well played’ because he didn’t want me to be complacent. You can push your luck now, Sir, since I’m not playing cricket anymore.
“I started my career here in Mumbai. I remember landing from NZ at 4am and playing a Ranji game the next day. The BCCI was fantastic from my debut. Thanks to the selectors. You were right with me making sure I was well taken care of.
“Thanks to all the senior cricketers who have played with me. We see on the screen Rahul, VVS, Sourav, Anil who is not here. All the coaches. I know when MS presented the 200th Test cap, I had a message to the team – I said we are all so proud to be representing the nation. I hope to continue to serve the nation with dignity. I have full faith that you will serve the country in the right spirit.
“I will be failing in my duty if I didn’t thank the doctors who have kept me fit. Given the injuries I have suffered. They have treated me in odd hours.
“My dear friend the late Mark Mascarenhas. I miss him. My current management team WSG, for continuing what Mark has done. Someone who has worked closely with me for 14 years is my friend Vinod Nayudu.
“The media has backed me a lot, since my school days. Even today. Thank you. Thanks to the photographers for capturing those moments.
“I know my speech has become long. I want to thank people who have flown in from different parts of the world. I want to thank my fans from the bottom of my heart. ‘Sachin, Sachin’ will reverberate in my ears till I stop breathing.”