There had been a couple of pacy bouncers late on Thursday evening as well followed by the inevitable deathly stares. Not surprisingly, the Wankhede crowd had let Tino Best know exactly what they thought of him. Boos and jeers though have never deterred the 32-year-old maverick pacer.
On Friday morning, Best was charged up as ever. All eyes at the Wankhede were fixated on the action in the middle. Though certainly not on Best. Sachin Tendulkar was potentially in the middle of his final international innings. And the stage was set for him to go out in style.
Best bowled 18 balls at the retiring Indian superstar, not one was short of action or a sense of drama.
Bouncers and Stares
The fourth ball that Best bowled to him on the second morning did rush Tendulkar as he attempted to play it through the off-side. The pacer and the rest of the West Indies in fact assumed they had their man and Best had even set off on one of his belligerent victory laps. Umpire Richard Kettleborough though remained unmoved, much to the relief of the crowd. The next ball flew over Tendulkar’s head. Another stare, setting off another round of barracking from the crowd. Over the next 15 minutes, Best would deliver a few more bouncers and many more stares.
Tendulkar would end up attempting the risqué ramp shot to a couple of them, only to miss them narrowly. It was as if he was teasing Best, and the Wankhede.
Tendulkar did have the upper-hand overall, though, stroking two delectable drives—one straight and the other through the covers. Best was not to be outdone and almost had his nemesis of the day caught at short-leg by Kieran Powell with the final delivery he bowled to him.
On a day that witnessed a lot of action, this 20-minute period probably produced more drama than the rest of it. In between sprinting at full tilt towards the bowling crease ball after ball, Best spent a lot of time at the centre of the wicket, holding his head, muttering under his breath and throwing his hands up in despair.
He even managed to amuse Tendulkar, who gave him a friendly punch on the shoulder as Best stood hands on knees and cursing his luck for the umpteenth time.
Till Friday, the most famous anecdote involving Best didn’t paint him in any great light. “Watch the windows Tino,” Andrew Flintoff