Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar's failure to make his 100th international century left fans in Mumbai deeply deflated on Friday, with supporters leaving the stadium in their droves after his dismissal for 94.
In contrast to the previous three days, when crowds were thin on the ground, supporters flocked to the Wankhede Stadium to see if the master batsman could build on his overnight 67 not out and achieve the unprecedented landmark.
A disappointed fan at Wankhede stadium. PIC/AFP
As Tendulkar pushed on with confidence into the nineties with a string of stylish boundaries, late arrivals clutching tickets ran frantically towards the ground, desperate not to miss the occasion.
Others without tickets swarmed around the television cameras set up on the sweeping Marine Drive promenade, waving the saffron, white and green flag of India and listening to radio commentary on their mobile phones.
But as news emerged that Tendulkar had edged Ravi Rampaul to second slip, fans clutched their heads in disbelief. Instead of cheers there was only the sound of heavy rush-hour traffic.
"I didn't have a ticket but I came here on the off-chance of getting one," said Ramesh Chauhan, a 43-year-old civil servant from Mumbai. "I couldn't get one so I'm doubly disappointed."
Late-comers who had not heard news of Tendulkar's exit were still sprinting to make it to the venue on time. But they were stopped in their tracks by passers-by who shook their heads as they told them the news.
"I'm depressed actually," said Chinmay Kurve, a 24-year-old software industry worker, as he walked away from the stadium.
Mumbai had been in a state of expectation about the record, with Tendulkar one of the city's favourite sons as well as a sporting icon for millions of cricket fans across India.
The 38-year-old was born in the city and cut his cricketing teeth on Mumbai's packed public playing fields, before making his international debut at the precocious age of 16.
The downbeat mood outside the Wankhede Stadium was in sharp contrast to the jubilant scenes back in March, when India lifted the one-day international World Cup after beating South Asian rivals Sri Lanka.
Fans of Tendulkar were still confident he will achieve the feat either in the forthcoming one-day internationals against the West Indies or the next Test series in Australia.
"There's no doubt he can do it," said Chauhan.
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