14th Dec 1994 -
The 1st ever Test match in Mohali. India playing West Indies. At the end of the previous day's play (day 4 of the Test match), India were 37 for 1 in the 4th innings, with Sachin Tendulkar unbeaten on 6. India needed another 321 runs to win on the final day. Given the good pitch with decent pace and bounce that had not deteriorated over the 1st 4 days of the Test like a typical Indian wicket, the young (and naive) cricket fan within me was hopeful of a fantastic run-chase on the final day, spearheaded by Tendulkar, who had hit a big hundred in the previous Test at Nagpur.
So I switched on the TV set early in the morning with great expectations, looking forward to be glued to the TV set all day. But I had not accounted for the fact that this was the Indian team of the 90's, which used to flatter and deceive it's fans more often than not. Sachin was dismissed within the 1st 10 minutes of play. And India were bowled out for 114 by lunchtime. The 1st step in the making of a perennially pessimistic cricket fan had been taken.
5th Oct 2010 -
Another Test match at Mohali. India vs. Australia. Another similar situation at the end of day 4. India 55 for 4 in the 4th innings, chasing 216 for victory. The wicket this time was a typically Indian, crumbling at the end of day 4. Sachin Tendulkar at the crease again, unbeaten on 10. Could the God of Cricket undo the failings of 1994? I was not too sure. I was out of the country, in a time zone 10 hours behind. I was wondering if I should sacrifice the night's sleep to watch the finale. I ran the risk of spoiling my sleep as well as my mood (if India lost). Memories of 14th Dec 1994 were still fresh in my mind. But the optimist in me somehow won that day. To hell with sleep, I said to myself. Sachin might retire after World Cup 2011. This might be one of his last hurrays. I will never forgive myself if I miss it. I tuned in online.
Day 5 begins to follow the similar script as 16 years ago. Sachin is dismissed within the 1st hour, India crumble to 124 for 8. It was 14th Dec 1994 all over again. But I do not realize two important differences. The opposition is Australia and the batsman at the crease is VVS Laxman. And whenever these two things happen together, fans are always in for something Very Very Special. Laxman adds 80 runs with Ishant Sharma, followed by 11 with Pragyan Ojha to take India to it's 1st ever 1 wicket victory in Tests. History is NOT repeated at Mohali.
Part I is here.