Tendulkar in stylish form in international finale

Sachin Tendulkar raised the expectations of millions of fans

with a fluent knock Thursday at Wankhede Stadium as he looks

determined to make a memorable exit to final international cricket

career.

Tendulkar, the only player to score 100 international centuries,

was set to resume his innings Friday after scoring a stylish 38

runs on the opening day of the second test against the West Indies.

He smashed six well-timed fours much to the delight of spectators,

who celebrated every run he scored after coming in to bat in the

last session of the day.

The 40-year-old looked composed, playing both spin and pace with

ease and punishing any loose deliveries.

Former captain Sourav Ganguly, a long-time opening partner of

Tendulkar in one-day internationals, felt Tendulkar will have to

start afresh Friday.

”He batted very well, he looked very solid,” Ganguly told the

Headlines Today news channel. ”But it’s the end of one day and

he’ll have to re-start.”

Tendulkar, who was given a guard of honor by the West Indies

team when he came in to bat, was cheered by enthusiastic fans even

while fielding.

He was presented with a special cap to commemorate his 200th

test by captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who also invited him to lead

the team out at the start of the match.

Spectators had their faces painted in the Indian national flag’s

colors of green, white and orange with either ”Sachin” or ”200”

written on their foreheads to commemorate his 200th and last test

match.

They also waved placards in praise of the man they call ”little

master” who holds most of batting’s major records including the

most runs and centuries in both tests and one-day

internationals.

Tendulkar became the first batsman to score a double-century in

one-day internationals when he reached 200 not out against South

Africa at Gwalior in 2010, while the feat of 100 international

centuries was completed against host Bangladesh during the 2012

Asia Cup.

Several prominent politicians, film actors and sportsmen have

turned out to watch Tendulkar’s final match and the home series has

seen the focus on him rather than any other performance or even the

results.

While Tendulkar’s retirement is huge news in India and other

parts of the cricket world, his final match was not covered by many

news outlets in text or photo because of an ongoing dispute with

cricket’s organizers in India.

For the past 18 months, BCCI has prohibited certain photo-only

agencies, such as Getty, from covering cricket matches. Because of

that, several agencies, including The Associated Press and Reuters,

have declined to cover BCCI-run cricket. The News Media Coalition,

a consortium of news outlets including the AP, has been attempting

to negotiate an agreement with the BCCI.

Many agencies covered Tendulkar’s departure from outside the

stadium and on the streets of Mumbai.