Alas, poor Sachin and his adoring, global army of fans will have to await the coming of another day upon which to salute the once unfathomable landmark of 100 international hundreds.
Poised on 94, in India, in Mumbai, against the West Indies on a billiard table of a wicket, Tendulkar guided Ravi Rampaul into the hands of Darren Sammy at second slip. The Wankhede fell silent. India fell silent.
Has the approaching landmark started to take its toll on the Little Master? As the great Sir Jack Hobbs approached the landmark of 124 First Class centuries laid down by one WG Grace, he stuttered. By his impeccable standards, he stuttered badly, too.
As much as the greatest love to deny that they aim for such groundbreaking landmarks, they undoubtedly take their toll as public interest swells.
As Hobbs passed the good doctor’s record at Taunton after something of a wait and in the eye of a media storm that had drummed up such great fervour and expectancy, I’m sure Tendulkar will pass the ton of international tons.
The longer he endures the wait, and the resulting scrutiny, however, the harder achieving this goal will become.
Tendulkar has three centuries to his name in 2011. One Test ton against South Africa, and two World Cup hundreds against the Proteas and England. Since that last century, on March 12 (that seems a very long time ago now!) he has established four great chances to reach the landmark.
A score of 85 against Pakistan in a World Cup semi final would have been the most emotional way of bringing it up. 91 at The Oval against England was another case of ‘not to be’ for Sach. And in this current series he has amassed scores of 76 and 94 against the West Indies.
India’s next assignment is in Australia. With their bowling attack the way it is, it would be a brave man who bets against Tendulkar bringing up another century Down Under.
By Miles Reucroft