Melbourne: Wait Sach, wait for the (no-ball) check, was Sourav Gangulys anguished cry as The Master began walking off after being bowled by an in-coming beauty from Peter Siddle.
For a huge majority of the 52,858 fans at the MCG and millions back in India and elsewhere, that was a devastating moment on Tuesday evening.
The no-ball check was made and, this time, Siddle hadnt transgressed. A short while earlier, hed over-stepped and Rahul Dravid (68 at the close on Day II) got a reprieve.
So, the wait for Sachin Tendulkars 100th International hundred continues and that one box has been ready to be ticked for nine months.
It will come, its a matter of time... Sachin had been batting splendidly today and, if I happen to meet him, Ill congratulate him for such a fine 73... But well done is something Ive been telling him for years, Sourav told The Telegraph.
With Sachin in such sublime touch, Sourav had asked wife Dona and daughter Sana to come over to the MCG from their hotel and all three were together in a seating area adjoining the commentators enclosure.
Sachin fell in the last over, his dismissal giving another twist to a fascinating three sessions of Test cricket.
Terrific bowling, from Zaheer Khan to James Pattinson (who touched 153 kmph), stupendous shots from Sachin, yet another stand-out performance from a cramping Dravid and typically outrageous hits from Virender Sehwag were a feature of the day.
As also a mid-pitch confrontation between Sehwag and Pattinson, over the latters follow-through. When Siddle intervened, the India vice-captain quickly put him in his place.
The day saw an emotional placard as well: 1989-2011: My life, Sachins career. It surfaced when he was walking out to take guard in his fifth Test at the MCG.
Earlier, Australia didnt add very many to their overnight score, finishing on 333. At the close, India were 214 for three. Strongly-placed, but Sachins dismissal may become the turning point of the innings.
Whats pleasing is that, late in the evening, Dravid had recovered from the cramps. Im fine, he said, when contacted at The Langham.
Dravid added 75 with Sehwag (67 with two definite chances) for the second wicket, but it was the 117-run collaboration for the third wicket, with Sachin, that didnt allow Australia to wrest the initiative.
While Sachin waits for a landmark which should be his forever, Sehwag entered the 8,000 club. It wasnt via his best innings, but little matters more than runs on the board.
Sachin, of course, produced his best innings of the season — better than the 91 at The Oval and the 94 at the Wankhede. He started tentatively, before tea, but an upper cut six off Siddle immediately after that break made it known what was to follow.
An exhibition of class which isnt always seen on the circuit.
So much so that Sachins drives, on the off and straight, alone were worth travelling continents to applaud. Also, the manner in which Dravid and he (the most successful batsmen in Test cricket) took charge.
It just happened and they didnt, for example, need a PA system to announce that.
Sachin and Dravid now have 20 century partnerships to their credit. They keep improving their own record!
Its not a charity game, we were trying to get them out, observed Brad Haddin, the keeper and vice-captain, who dropped Sehwag on 58.
Haddin and his teammates didnt get much success, though.
Ravichandran Ashwin, who finished with three for 81, reminded that the team would bat out as much time as possible and take whatever lead is managed.
As things stand, one can expect a throbbing finish to the first Test.