Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar BCCI

Oh dear, how do you explain what just happened on Friday morning at the Wankhede.

The script had been written already surely - Sachin Tendulkar would get his hundred in his final Test.

It was inked and printed and prophesied on Thursday, and when Friday beckoned, Tendulkar looked as good, if not better, as he did on the first day of the second Test against the West Indies in Mumbai.

But then, somebody decided to change the script, leave the fairy tales for the books, and let reality be reality.

The result: Sachin Tendulkar edges one off Narsingh Deonarine to WI skipper Darren Sammy at first slip, falling short, of what would have been a century right out of dreamland, by 26 runs.

The 74 runs that were scored from the blade of Tendulkar was pure poetry, though-there is that to take away from it.

Every ball was as ever, watched with baited breath, similar to what every India cricket fan would go through in the 1990s, when you knew if Tendulkar got out, poof went India's chances with it.

Every run, pretty much every shot, came off the middle of the bat - Tendulkar scored the last 36 runs on the second day from just 45 deliveries.

Tendulkar was not troubled by the West Indies pacers or the spinners, in fact Sachin was taking the attack to them, and in some style too.

The feeling of that incredible hundred just kept growing and growing with every passing run. The smiles of every single person in the crowd at the Wankhede, and of those watching on their TVs, growing wider and wider with it.

The commentators were careful not to put the curse on Tendulkar - the last thing they need is to be blamed for the whole thing! - and the stage was set.

Tino Best tried his best to rattle the Indian maestro, with little to no effect. Greater and faster bowlers have sledged, or attempted to sledge, the Little Master over the years, and nobody has really had much of an effect, not even the Australians in their pomp.

So, it was time, the runs being counted down like it was the end of the millennium, and if the counting stopped before reaching a hundred, surely Armageddon would be upon us.

The kind of Armageddon that takes a while to sink in, but then slowly but surely starts to eat you up from inside, leaving you with a hollow feeling, a feeling you have not known for 24 years.

Where do you go from there?

There was the proverbial pin-drop silence following Tendulkar's wicket in the 48th over of the innings, as the crowd refused to believe what had just happened.

No, it is not possible, shake your head and turn back time, this cannot have happened.

However as reality kicked in, the realisation that Sachin Tendulkar will, most probably, with India on course for a big lead in the match, not play another international innings rose.

The time that no Indian cricket fan wanted to see has come. The end of Tendulkar's career. And as he walked back into the pavilion, quite likely for the final time, to applause, which you had to be there to be believed, it was not just the end of an era, that would be a major understatement, it was the end of cricket in India, as we have known it from 15 November, 1989 to 15, November 2013.

Onto the future now with the Virat Kohlis and Rohit Sharmas, but before that let's just savour what Tendulkar has given us for the last quarter of a century. Joy boundless, and many more adjectives that words fail to express.

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