Full house expected in his home city as the batting legend resumes day three of the Test with West Indies on 67.
Sachin Tendulkar is closing in on his 100th century
Tendulkar will resume on 67 this morning, and on a placid pitch, and against a docile attack, a crowd of 32,000 at a packed Wankhede Stadium will expect to see the prolific right-hander reach the landmark in his home city of Mumbai.
But Darren Sammy, the West Indies captain, said his side will not be playing to participate in Tendulkar's coronation.
"We could have a full house with the little master on 67, but we also have plans to break a few Indian hearts," Sammy said.
"It should be an interesting day."
India are 281 for three, still needing 110 more runs to avoid the follow-on with seven wickets in hand. West Indies racked up 590 in their first innings.
"There is still a lot of time left and the game is about the first session, how quickly we get the wickets," Sammy said.
The visitors did manage to pick up the key wicket of Rahul Dravid, who looked set to complete his 37th Test hundred, and the sixth of the year, before he was bowled by the part-time spinner Marlon Samuels while attempting a cut after hitting 11 fours. He did manage to become only the second batsman to reach 13,000 Test runs, though, when he drove the seamer Sammy through the covers for four. He also completed 1,000 Test runs in the year for the third time in his career.
Tendulkar has so far added 57 for the unfinished fourth-wicket stand with VS Laxman (32 not out).
Tendulkar's 133-ball knock included an uppercut for six off the paceman Fidel Edwards. He played handsomely but he was lucky to survive on 58 when the wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh dropped a difficult chance off the leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo.
Gautam Gambhir had earlier made 55 - his 18th Test half-century - at the top of the order and put on 67 for the first wicket with the free-scoring Virender Sehwag (37).
"Things change very quickly in India, especially on red soil once the ball starts turning," Gambhir said. "If we can put a decent total and then try to get the West Indies out, we still feel there is a chance of winning the Test."
Gambhir, who hit eight fours and added 71 for the second wicket with Dravid, was adjudged caught behind while attempting to pull the paceman Ravi Rampaul.
It was Sammy who provided the breakthrough in his third over when he bowled Sehwag with a delivery that cut in to surprise the batsman.
Sehwag played some attractive shots during his cameo, lofting Sammy over the covers for a six in the bowler's opening over. He also hit three fours in his 50-ball knock.
The West Indies earlier added 15 runs off 3.1 overs to their overnight total of 575 for nine before the off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin bowled Bishoo (12) to finish with five for 156 - his second five-wicket haul in the debut Test series.