India has won its last five Test matches – all at home – and it is a decent bet to beat the West Indies for the second time this month and send out Sachin Tendulkar as a winner.
Officially it is the Second Test between India and the West Indies but it is not going to be called that by most cricket fans. As far as they are concerned, it is Tendulkar’s last Test, the 200th and final match of an Indian sports icon.
Bookmakers have priced up a wide range of Tendulkar exotics to commemorate the Little Master’s farewell from the Test arena, with the most popular with sentimental punter likely to be the odds of 5.00 that Betfred are offering about him scoring a century in the match.
Tendulkar has scored 51 tons in his 199 Test games, with his best score being the 248 not out that he scored in India’s innings defeat of Bangladesh in Dhaka nine years ago. But Tendulkar’s best days are well behind him, with the Little Master not scoring a Test century since his 146 versus South Africa in Cape Town nearly three years ago. Tendulkar has failed to hit a ton in his last 39 Test innings, with his last seven knocks not featuring a single half century.
And Tendulkar’s statistics at the Wankhede Stadium in his home city of Mumbai are not great, either. Tendulkar has played 10 Test matches in Mumbai, scoring 847 runs at an average of 47.05 and registering only one ton – 148 in India’s draw against Sri Lanka 16 years ago. Tendulkar’s score was not even the highest of that particular match, with Sourav Ganguly hitting 173 runs in his first dig.
Sentiment says that Tendulkar will go out in a blaze of glory but, while the Little Master ought to end his Test career on a winning team, India’s likely success may not have a great deal to do with him. Tendulkar averaged 23.80 runs in Test games last year and his 2013 Test average is not much better, standing at 28.88 after India’s First Test thumping of the West Indies at Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
Even though the 2013 Tendulkar is a pale imitation of the Little Master who burst on to the scene in the late 1980s and early 1990s, India should be too strong for the West Indies. India is always hard to beat on home soil and, so, it was not an almighty surprise to see the First Test result in a win for MS Dhoni’s side by an innings and 51 runs. The West Indies were all out for 234 runs before India replied with 453 runs, including centuries for Ravichandran Ashwin and Rohit Sharma. India did not have to bat again, with the West Indies capitulating for 168 runs as India’s Mohammed Shami took five wickets for 47 runs to take his match figures to nine wickets for 119 runs. So good was Sharma’s innings, though, that Shami did not win the game award.
The West Indies arrived in India having won each of their last half a dozen Test matches but they had been feasting on the small fish – Bangladesh away, New Zealand at home and Zimbabwe away – in compiling that sequence. Not since their First Test versus South Africa in Port Elizabeth six years ago have the West Indies beaten a decent side away from the Caribbean and that result so enraged the Proteas that they thrashed the Windies in the other games in that series.
India is available at odds of 1.57 with Youwin, to defeat the West Indies in Mumbai and take out the Test series 2-0. If one wants to bet on a Tendulkar exotic then the most attractive option is taking up Ladbrokes on its offer of odds of 1.50 that the Little Master does not score a first-innings 50.