This time he reached 94 before he edged a lifting delivery to second slip and was compelled to walk in near total silence back to the pavilion. For the length of his innings, it seemed as though, finally, Sachin Tendulkar, the Little Master, would reach his hundredth hundred: and in Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, his home ground no less. Nonetheless, Tendulkar has now joined Australian Steve Waugh as the only two batsmen who’ve got themselves out ten times in the nineties in Test cricket.
It’s a bizarre record, given that the difference between 94 and 100 is only six runs, and in the cause of winning the game, hitting 94 runs in a closely fought match may be more significant a contribution than belting 150 in a blow-out. Losing one’s wicket in the nineties is also a strange designation of “failure”: it’s as if a baseball batter were considered a loser because ten would-be home runs bounced off the top of the wall back onto the field of play, with the batter only being credited with ten triples as a result. Some failure!