In the backdrop of critics’ asking for his head, and on a dangerous Eden Gardens wicket where most of his teammates were struggling to cope with the swing and spin, Tendulkar put up a masterly defensive innings to bail India out of potential embarrassment. For a man who has a hundred hundreds to his name, an innings of 76 may seem to be like a drop of water in the sea, but given the lean patch Sachin has been going through, to play an innings like that was simply classy.
His 76 came off 155 balls, at less than 1 runs off 2 balls. Add to that the fact that 52 of those runs came in the form of 13 boundaries, and you can see the number of dot balls the innings had.
Against Panesar alone, he scored just 20 runs off 83 balls. Tendulkar known to be disdainful to the best of bowlers, showed calm restraint and respect where it was due to get himself and his team out of trouble.
In both the innings in Mumbai, Tendulkar was out playing across the line. Yesterday, he cut that shot almost out. Remember Sydney where he cut out his bread and butter drive and yet ended up with a double century against his name?
In spite of the continuous clamouring for his retirement, Sachin has been insistent that he feels that there is still more cricket left in him. We saw ample proof of that yesterday, and hopefully the critics’ will quieten down again.