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A full house at Lord's, a Test match to be saved and Sachin Tendulkar tantalisingly poised on 99 international hundreds.
The script appeared obvious, the 'Little Master' would blunt England's bowling attack and register his century of centuries at the home of cricket, steering India to a draw in the process.
The reality was somewhat different, Tendulkar scratched around for 12 off 68 balls before being sent on his way by James Anderson as England completed victory by 196 runs.
It was the 38-year-old's fifth Test appearance at Lord's and his highest score at the ground is just 37, meaning his name is notably absent from the famous honours board - which records for posterity those who have scored Test hundreds or taken five wickets in an innings at the ground.
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None of the Tendulkar's 99 international centuries have come at the home of cricket, where he has a top score of 37 in five Tests. The leading run scorer in Test history averages 21.66 at the venue, compared with a career mark of 56.68, and has also not been on the winning side.
The Australian leg-spinner tormented England throughout his career but, although he was never on the losing side in four appearances at Lord's, his best bowling figures were 4-57. Warne's record at the ground is excellent, 19 wickets at an average of 19.57, but the dominance of Australia's seamers at Lord's during his career served to limit his opportunities for a five-wicket haul.
The leading wicket taker in history played just one of his 133 Tests at Lord's, claiming 3-158 in England's only innings of a high-scoring draw in 2006. Muralitharan was injured for Sri Lanka's visit four years earlier and retired by the time his country returned in 2011.
The modern reputation of Lord's as spinners' graveyard is confirmed by the India leg-spinner, who never took more than three wickets in an innings in three visits. Kumble's 12 wickets during those three matches cost 41 each, a stark example of how ungenerous the venue has become for the twirlers.
The West Indies left-hander had a career average of 62.14 against England but in three Tests at Lord's managed a top score of 54 in three defeats. Lara very much preferred St John's, Antigua - where he feasted on England's bowlers to the tune of 375 and 400 not out - to St John's Wood, London.
Ponting is Australia's all-time leading Test run scorer but failed to register even a half-century in four Lord's Tests, three against England and one against Pakistan. He has made four single-figure scores in eight innings but at least had the consolation of being on the winning side three times and could return in 2013 for a fifth chance.
The West Indian paceman terrorised England throughout his career but narrowly missed out on the honours board, twice taking four wickets. In common with Warne, his overall record at Lord's is good but he paid the price for the strength of his team's bowling attack.
The England opener, a mainstay of the 1990s, failed to register a century in 15 Lord's Tests. His nearest miss came in 1993 against Australia when he slipped turning for a third and was run out for 99.
The leading all-rounder of his generation graced Lord's twice, in 1998 and 2008, managing a combined five wickets and 20 runs. He is still going strong in all forms of the game and, like Ponting, may yet get another chance.
India's standout opening batsman had a best effort of 59 in five Tests at Lord's from 1971 to 1986. Gavaskar passed 40 four times in 10 innings but failed to go on and make a big score.
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