Melbourne: Sachin Tendulkar's misjudgment to throw away his innings with another impressive century beckoning could be the turning point in India's opening Test against Australia, the batsman admitted.
The sublime stroke-maker with a record 37 Test hundreds cruised to 62 off 77 balls as his team-mates flailed around him, and looked all set for another century in reply to Australia's first innings total of 343.
But he was bowled by Stuart Clark just when it appeared he was building a big partnership with Sourav Ganguly.
And Tendulkar agreed his dismissal was a turning point which India may never recover from in the opening match of the four-Test series.
"I would say so. If we had converted that partnership into a big partnership it can really make a huge difference to the lower batting order and that was an important wicket," Tendulkar said.
"I was disappointed. I knew there was 10 minutes left before tea and the idea was to play out a few balls and I misjudged that. It came a bit slower than I expected off the wicket.
"I went in with a positive frame of mind and I decided if the ball was there I would put it away. The ball came a bit slower than I expected. That was the reason."
The 34-year-old had been in his pomp, caressing drives and cuts for boundaries and crashed leg-spinner Brad Hogg for a huge six before he chopped a Clark delivery on to his stumps.
Tendulkar, playing in his farewell Melbourne Test, slowly left the arena to sustained applause from the appreciative Australian crowd -- and with him went India's chances of overhauling Australia's first innings total.
At stumps on the second day, Australia had built their lead to 179 runs with 10 wickets intact and giving every indication that they will set India an imposing total to chase in the fourth innings on a wearing pitch.
"Yesterday we were in a good position and today it's not the same for us," Tendulkar said.
"We definitely should have played better but the match is not over yet and we will continue to fight.
"We will have to get 10 wickets as early as possible and that would be our first target and then we have to win whatever sessions are left in the Test match."
The Australians prize Tendulkar's wicket each time he comes out to bat against them. He has only been bowled four times in the 40 Test innings he has played against Australia since 1991.
"He was batting beautifully and any time he gets out and you see him walking back to the pavilion it's a good moment for the opposition because he's such a great player," Clark said.
"Hopefully, if we can build that pressure on him every time we play him and if we're not getting him out and he's not scoring runs, then we can create that pressure and intensity that's required in Test cricket and he can find ways to get himself out."
Tendulkar has scored 1,921 runs in 22 Test matches against Australia at 53.36, slightly down on his career average of 55.10.