Sport on TV: A great spectacle puts everyone else in the shade


Some say the Sky is falling in after BT Sport's hijacking of the Champions' League broadcasting rights. Yet without the satellite platform we might not have seen Sachin Tendulkar's 200th and final Test match (Sky Sports 2, Thursday). They have been faithfully delivering cricket from all corners of the old empire since early 1990, coinciding with all but three months of the Little Master's remarkable 24-year career.

Not all of it has involved England either, far from it. Sky Sports' pundits have got up in the small hours to keep Charles Colvile company and pontificate about Yuvraj Singh and Dale Steyn and even Mpumelelo Mbangwa without batting a heavy eyelid. Cricket-aholics have drunk their fills and spills, and this is their champagne moment.

Certainly in the studio Dominic Cork looked like he was about to pop, while Rob Key seemed fit to burst too – but then he always does. Everyone was rather tripping over themselves as the clock counted down from 200 in the appropriately named Wankhede Stadium. Colvile asked cryptically: "How on earth are we ever going to expect to see anything different, or the same, from Sachin when we consider life in the future?" Over on the local broadcaster Star, Harsha Bhogle intoned mystifyingly: "On a misty Mumbai morning it's all drawing to a close. The sun is setting on one of Mumbai's favourite sons." By this time Key must have wondering if he was meeting himself going to bed.

It was a good job they were counting down from 200 because Tendulkar had to rush back up the long flight of steps to the dressing-room to retrieve the special cap he had just been presented with. It's a dash that many England players have made in the past, though for a different reason. No need to hurry; the West Indies opener Chris Gayle is so laid-back that he hadn't reached the crease by the time the countdown expired.

Tendulkar is probably as close as a sportsman can get to being a god – Sir David Beckham please note, you've got nothing on Sachin and his billion or so worshippers (see below) – and it seemed that some higher power was writing the script: Gayle hit the first ball of the match straight to Tendulkar at square leg; a huge cheer went up. He threw it to his team-mate and his shades fell to the ground; another huge cheer. Has anyone ever received such a rapturous reception when their glasses fell off?

Four hours later, the little big man came out to bat and was roared to the crease. It was an extraordinary moment. He was accorded a guard of honour and even the two umpires joined in. One of them, Nigel Llong, had erroneously given him out in the previous game; this time he was no doubt keeping his index finger firmly in his pocket. Otherwise an entire city would have burned. But it made clapping a bit difficult.

Colvile had recalled John Arlott's commentary on the last innings of Don Bradman. After he had been applauded all the way to the wicket and given three cheers by England, Arlott mused: 0"I wonder how you see the ball at all." The Don, of course, got a duck, thereby missing out on the four runs he needed to end up with an average of exactly 100.

Sachin, meanwhile, took a wild heave at his third ball and squirted it down to deep square leg. It might have been the ugliest shot this most elegant of batsmen had ever played. A moment of madness, but he was up and running. A billion people signed with relief; the resulting wind would have put out the biggest of fires.

Tendulkar was in imperious mood, as it happened. And even when his partner scored a run there was loud acclaim as it meant their man was back on strike. He looked certain to get a century but it was not to be. He is obviously not the only god. When he was out, for a second the deathly quiet was deafening. The tumult returned as he trudged back to the pavilion. And the rest was silence.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
Morrissey pictured in 2013
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Robyn Lawley
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Life and Style
lifeDon't get caught up on climaxing
Life and Style
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Data Analytics Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client who are a leading organisation...

Accountant / Assistant Management Accountant

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: We are looking for an Assistant Management Ac...

Data Scientist

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A data analytics are currently looking t...

Insight Analyst Vacancy - Leading Marketing Agency

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading marketing agency have won a fe...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star