More than stock market indices, headline inflation figures or GDP data, Sachin Tendulkar’s on field performances have perhaps been a better barometer of our national mood for over two decades. The 38-year-old Tendulkar, with 51 centuries in Tests and 48 in one-dayers, needs one more to get to the coveted ton that has eluded him since he last made three figures in the 50-over World Cup in April. Playing in front of a 20,000 crowd at his home Wankhede Stadium ground, the master batsman hit five boundaries and a six as he added 57 for the fourth wicket with Laxman.


The vociferous support by crowd, which had swelled by lunch, for the Tendulkar went quiet as the batsman, following through with his stroke, stepped back and looked anxiously at the umpire. It was a close shout, not many would have questioned the umpire had he given Tendulkar out. But he didn’t. Possibly it was the hint of turn but the crowd lapped it up with a huge roar.

The Master Blaster usually sees such appeals go against him. Fortune appeared to have favoured him on Thursday  and it seemed like the agonising wait for his 100th international hundred would end.

The hosts, chasing an imposing first-innings total of 590 by West Indies, were 281 for three at the close of the third day with Tendulkar (67) and VVS Laxman (32) at the crease.

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