Little Master shows touches of genius before falling short

Tendulkar's failure to get 100th international century with a maiden ton at Lord's is met with mixed feelings by crowd wanting to see him make history

The Lord's buzz was fed by an acute sense of anticipation at the start of play. The sun was out, the ground was full and the only fruitful subject of conversation was not England's chances of bowling India out but whether the Little Master, Sachin Tendulkar, would get his first hundred at Lord's at the eighth time of asking. If he did it would be a doublecelebration, because a hundred here would be his 100th hundred in international cricket.

India's openers lasted only 90 minutes. Tendulkar was applaudedas he walked through the Long Room, and on his way to the field MCC members gave him a standing ovation. It was the same before Don Bradman's last innings at The Oval in 1948, when the ovation so moved him that he failed to read a googly and was out second ball.

The first striking thing about Tendulkar is that he really is small – 5ft 5in – bulked out a bit by a short-sleeved sweater. He takes his guard without any fuss; the stance is classically upright; he looks composed and he does not get out second ball. Stuart Broad's first delivery has been wide of the leg stump and flies off for four byes; Tendulkar's first significant scoring stroke brings four overthrows. The second strikingthing about Tendulkar is the noise his bat makes as he hits the ball. The timing is so perfect that the sound is soft and in tune.

He strokes the ball through extra cover and the fielders don't bother to move. He plays the ball square off the back foot and the fielders stare and admire. When he gets a four off a thick edge, you assume he meant to steer the ball between second and fourth slip.

He is not infallible. Chris Tremlett causes minor discomfort, but he scores boundaries with ominous ease, and before long overtakes Rahul Dravid. Tremlett actually pierces the defence. Bowling from the Nursery End, he is using the Lord's slope to accentuate his outswing. Tendulkar plays and misses.

A momentary aberration, surely. When he is on 32 he has already hit six fours. His demeanour and his reputation are so persuasive that already his hundred seems inevitable.

But Broad is back and bowling well. For the first time this season he pitches the ball up, and when he replaces Tremlett at the Nursery End he draws Tendulkar forward, the ball moves away and takes an edge.

Graeme Swann at second slip takes a routine catch. The game is not over, far from it, but the story is over; Tendulkar out for 34 after spending only 80 minutes at the crease. England are elated. The crowd have mixed feelings, however. They had hoped for something memorable.

Out for 34, and that was not even his top score at Lord's (he got 37 in 2007) but it leaves him with more runs than anyone in Test history (14,726) at an average of just under 57. These statistics are one reason why India have entered their 100th Test against England as the top team in the world, and why it is that in the past 10 series between the teams, England have won six Tests and India 11. England have not won a series against India, either here or there, since 1996.

This would be a delightful surprise to the princely old geezers who first toured England 79 years ago. The team were organised – and paid for – by the Maharaja of Porbandar, who naturally appointed himself captain and played the early tour games.

His scores were 0, 2, 0, 2 and 2 before he did the decent thing and fell on his sword. Mihir Bose's excellent History of Indian Cricket observes: "The Maharaja was said to be the only first-class cricketer in England to have more Rolls Royces than runs." There was evidence of promise all those years ago. CK Nayudu was the first Indian cricketer to be named as one of Wisden's five cricketers of the year, but Bose tells us that India did not emerge from the shadow of English cricket until 1971, the annus mirabilis when India beat England at The Oval and won a series for the first time.

India bask in the sun now. It is not just the presence of Tendulkar. Dravid, Virender Sehwag and VVS Laxman are world-class. MS Dhoni is a admirable combination of keeper, batsman and captain. The bowling is not of the same quality, of course, especially when Zaheer Khan cannot bowl. They are fed by the admiration of the largest crowds in cricket.

India are formidable, but, as yesterday's play demonstrated, they are certainly not impregnable. England's aspiration to be the best test team in the world is not a fantasy,but they will need to be bloody good to pull it off.

Shoppers at Selfridges department store in central London

Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.
peopleFormer Newsnight presenter is being touted for a brand new role
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012
voicesAnd nobody from Ukip said babies born to migrants should be classed as migrants, says Nigel Farage
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
i100(More than you think)
Brendan Rodgers seems more stressed than ever before as Liverpool manager
FOOTBALLI like Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
The Magna Carta
archaeologyContemporary account of historic signing discovered
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
Benjamin Stambouli celebrates his goal for Tottenham last night
Life and Style
Dishing it out: the head chef in ‘Ratatouille’
food + drinkShould UK restaurants follow suit?
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game