Bangalore: The farewell chapter began with a standing ovation. The crowd was on its feet at the Chinnaswamy Stadium as Sourav Ganguly walked in to bat for the first time in his last series.

With India wobbling at 106 for four, it helped that Rahul Dravid stood at the other end.

The two, who made their Test debuts in 1996 at Lord’s, have been through a roller-coaster ride as Indian cricket shed its diffidence overseas and nearly silenced the clichéd “where is the killer instinct?,” query at press conferences.

The first run

The first run took some time and Ganguly glanced at the digital scoreboard when the zero vanished against his name. He nodded his head, obviously glad to get off the mark through a streaky four past slips.

The crowd applauded every shot be it a dot-ball or a single while in the distance, a banner fluttered: ‘Dada never retires from our hearts.’

Grit over grace

Pinged on the helmet, Ganguly battled ahead with more grit over grace. Brief but crucial partnerships were strung with Dravid, M.S. Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh.

Eventually when he departed, three short of a fifty, the crowd rose in unison.

The applause was profuse and perhaps it will continue in the second innings here as well as in the other venues of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series as a critical chapter in Indian cricketing history winds to a close. — Principal Correspondent

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