Sachin Tendulkar succumbed nine short of an unprecedented 100th international century on the final day of the fourth Test against England at The Oval yesterday as the hosts closed in on a series whitewash.
Tendulkar, 38, playing in what might be his final Test innings in England, was leg before wicket to the first ball of Tim Bresnan’s second spell of the day for 91 in just under four hours.
The Indian maestro, who holds the record for Test and one-day centuries and runs, stood at the crease in disbelief, before walking slowly back to the pavilion to a standing ovation.
There are no reviews of leg before decisions in the series because the Indian cricket authorities do not accept the ball-tracking technology, but replays showed the ball would have clipped the leg stump.
Tendulkar’s wicket came just after Amit Mishra was bowled by Graeme Swann for 84 and it sparked a collapse as India went from 262-3 to 269-8.
Suresh Raina was bowled by Swann for a duck, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni edged a Stuart Broad delivery to Swann at second slip for 3 and R.P. Singh was caught by wicketkeeper Matt Prior off Broad for a duck As at press time India were 275-9.
Tendulkar, who had scored only 182 runs in his seven previous innings in the series with one half-century, got off the mark with an inadvertent four through gully off Graeme Swann from his opening delivery on Sunday evening.
Swann could have captured his wicket three overs before the close when wicketkeeper Matt Prior whipped the bails off with Tendulkar’s back foot in the air. England did not appeal and Tendulkar ended the day on 35.
A square cut for four off Anderson, England’s best bowler of the series, brought up his half-century from 74 balls and a second standing ovation from the crowd.
He was dropped at short-leg on 70 when Alastair Cook failed to hold a chance which hit him on the chest when an inside-edge off Swann rebounded off the batsman’s pad. Tendulkar received another life on 85 when Prior failed to hold a thick outside edge off the off-spinner.
Bresnan’s first ball moved into Tendulkar and rapped him on the pads. Umpire Rod Tucker upheld an exuberant England appeal.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STAFF WRITER