London: Sachin Tendulkar ON Monday came agonisingly close to notching up a historic 100th international century before a debatable decision bought an end to his knock of 91, breaking the hearts of millions of Indian cricket fans at home and abroad.
Tendulkar looked set for his milestone century on the fifth day of the final cricket Test against England and when he reached the 90s, the full house at the Oval watched the proceedings with a bated breath in anticipation of the incredible feat.
Millions of Indian cricket fans at home and abroad were glued to their television sets.
But, it was not to be the historic day today at the Oval as Tendulkar was given out by Australian umpire Rod Tucker LBW off Tim Bresnan, a decision which the batsman could have got the benefit of doubt.
Television replays showed the ball was just about clipping leg stump after the Bresnan delivery drifted in from outside off stump. Tendulkar played across the line, was struck bang in front but the drift was taking it onto the leg. Tucker raised the dreaded finger to the stunned silence of the Oval crowd and breaking the hearts of millions of fans.
Tendulkar might have thought he had survived but not the one to stand ground a single second more than necessary once the umpire had ruled him out, he trudged out of the ground to a standing ovation of the spectators in what would surely be his last Test match on English soil.
Tendulkar had been the cynosure of all eyes before the start of the four-match Test series with anticipation that he would notch up his 100th ton with a Test century on the English soil but he will have to wait for the ODI series starting September 3.
The Indian batting maestro has been below par in the Test series, having scored a meagre 273 runs from eight innings at an average of 34.12 with two half centuries, his 91 today being the highest score.