New Delhi: Exuberant fans were stunned into silence at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium on Wednesday when Sachin Tendulkar yet again missed out on his 100th international hundred, this time by 24 runs on the fourth day of the first cricket Test against the West Indies here.
More than 10,000, who came in hoping to witness Tendulkar script history, reacted in disbelief when the iconic Indian batsman was out on 76 off leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo around half an hour before lunch break.
Some closed their eyes in despair while others buried their faces in between their hands as Tendulkar made the long walk to the dressing room after Australian umpire Rod Tucker raised his dreaded finger for an LBW decision.
The stunned crowd though recovered quickly to give the batting maestro a standing ovation as he trudged out of the ground with India still needing 43 to reach the target of 276.
Unlike the earlier three days of the match, a sizeable crowd was present before the start of the proceedings on Wednesday in anticipation of Tendulkar creating history.
The crowd surged as the morning session progressed though they could not witness what they had come for.
Playing in his 182nd match, Tendulkar, who crossed 15,000 Test runs yesterday, was batting fluently with some exquisite shots, including the drive through extra-cover boundary off pacer Ravi Rampaul.
He took 87 balls and hit two fours to score his 33 yesterday but today he added 43 runs from just 61 balls with the help of eight boundaries.
Tendulkar`s last international hundred was the 111 he scored against South Africa in the one-day international in Nagpur on March 12, his 48th ODI ton.
Since then, he has not scored an international hundred for four ODIs and 11 innings from five Tests. Tendulkar`s last Test hundred was in the first innings of the third and final Test against South Africa in Cape Town in January when he scored 146 in India`s 364 all out. That was his 51st Test ton.
With his 76 today, his 62nd Test fifty, Tendulkar went past teammate Rahul Dravid in the number of half centuries and is now just one short of equalling the record 63 in the name of former Australian captain Allan Border.