Millions prayed. The 'God' of cricket promised, only to go back on his word.

Sachin Tendulkar's sojourn at the crease in the first Test against the West Indies lasted a mere 24 deliveries at a half-empty Eden Gardens on Thursday, his innings ending just when the Little Master was beginning to come to terms with the turning track against a bowler who had his tail up.

Foxed by a straighter one from the rampaging Shane Shillingford, Sachin became one of the four victims of the off-spinner in an eventful first session that saw five wickets fall.

The heartbreak moment for fans was soon being laced with anger as television replays suggested that the ball, which hit Sachin on the back thigh as he went forward, would have perhaps gone over the stumps. Sachin trudged back, his displeasure revealed only in a small gesture as he entered the dressing room.

Sachin may have been surprised to find fewer than 20,000 fans on the terraces when he pulled his batting gloves on and walked in, all the hype about giving the maestro a fitting farewell sounding hollow. Eden's famous fan frenzy was that much weaker on one of the biggest days in its history.

But, then, the script had otherwise looked perfect when the master took guard. With Shillingford reducing India to 57 for 2 and looking ominous, Sachin walked into the sort of challenging situation that he would have encountered, and conquered, many times in his 24-year international career. Eden was ready for an encore. But then came the shock.

However, given the state of the match, it looks like there will be a second chance for Sachin at the Eden irrespective of the result. Only, the conditions will be more trying and the fans will fret that much more.

Cricket's 'God', after all, is human too.

Sachin Tendulkar More Stills

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