Sachin Tendulkar Dhoni India
India will embark on a Test series for the first time in a long time without Sachin TendulkarBCCI

Finally unable to control his tears as the emotion of the moment got to him as India gave a never-ending guard of honour, it sunk in for everyone - Sachin Tendulkar will not come out to play for India again, not even to field.

No more batting, no more spinning-like-a-top leg-spinners, no more advice to the bowlers from mid-on, no more acknowledgement of the fans at the boundary line as chants of Sachin, Sachin rang out. No more batting joy from the Little Master. It was over.

India romped to an innings and 126-run victory over the West Indies at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, which meant Sachin Tendulkar had played his final match in a never-to-see-again career, a career that began, almost to the day, 24 years ago.

MS Dhoni and co. required seven wickets to finish the game and the series off, and it was duly achieved a little over two hours into the third day.

Tendulkar, who made a brilliant 74 on the second day, falling agonisingly short of a century, did have his say on the third day, rolling his arm over for a couple, and coming close to picking up a wicket on a few occasions.

Much of Tendulkar's day was spent though thanking the crowd as the chants of Sachin, Sachin ran out endlessly.

West Indies kept losing wickets with unerring regularity and the moment that no-one wanted to see kept coming nearer.

It was punctuated with tremendous applause, especially when he came into bowl, but that almost dreaded moment just kept coming closer with each passing over.

When it did, as Mohammed Shami knocked off the stumps of Shannon Gabriel, the emotions kicked in - not just for Tendulkar, not just for the rest of the team, but everyone in the ground.

Tendulkar ran up to take a wicket as a memento of his final match, and then was asked to wait by Dhoni as the team waited for the rest of the squad to come onto the field.

Then a guard of honour like no other was given - a moving one - as Tendulkar, head bowed, unable to hold back the tears, walked out of his home ground for one final time.

He removed his floppy hat once, turned around and gave the crowd a wave, before putting the hat back on and letting the emotions take him.

Not a dry eye anywhere as Tendulkar climbed the steps and the magnitude of the moment hit home.

A great and unforgettable day for Indian cricket, and when Dhoni and his men now travel to South Africa, it will be without the Little Master Sachin Tendulkar in the squad - a strange feeling like no other.

A feeling which is going to take a lot more time to get used to.

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