A bit of Sachin magic at the Eden

1ST TEST—The maestro gets a wicket in the first over he bowls.

The Eden Gardens’ seating capacity was pruned during its reconstruction for the 2011 World Cup. But it can still seat about 65,000 people easily. When all those people get behind an Indian bowler, the atmosphere starts to weigh heavily on visiting batsmen. And there descends an inevitability that a wicket is around the corner.

This afternoon, MS Dhoni summoned Sachin Tendulkar to bowl the last over before tea. The West Indies were already doddering at 192-6. The crowd returned to life when it saw Tendulkar warming up for a bowl.

After his many photo-ops, meetings, greetings and over-the-top celebrations of his career, Sachin Tendulkar just about made himself available for this match. Not that he was going to miss it.

He spent the best part of the day in the cozy environs of the ropes where he had the attention of ball-boys and spectators alike. Not one to displease his fans, Tendulkar obliged the ball-boys with autographs and cell-phone photos they would cherish all their lives. But just as we thought there would be little else Tendulkar would do today, Dhoni brought him on.

Tendulkar chose to bowl leg-breaks. The crowed returned to life. He bowled a full ball first that Shane Shillingford patted back. The next was a horrendous ball that slipped down the legside for four byes. The third was a quicker delivery. The crowd was getting louder and that famous Eden atmosphere was now starting to disrupt Shillingford’s focus. And you could sense what was about to happen.

The fourth ball did the trick. It landed, didn’t turn, zipped knee-high and hit Shillingford in front of the middle stump. The LBW was as easy as they come. Eden erupted. The master had left them one more moment to remember him by.


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