Indian batting genius Sachin Tendulkar could be looking at completing another feat today and kicking off 2011 as the year's first cricket record-maker.
The Little Master indeed looks set to become the first batsman on the planet to move past 50 centuries in Tests, breaking the very record he notched up earlier in the ongoing tour of South Africa.
After a dismal showing in the second Test, at Durban, where he was only able to scarps together a precious little towards India's 87-run victory, he seems set to play a more pivotal role here at Cape Town.
After all, he has done all the groundwork - reviving India's innings from a precarious 28/2, putting on a stabilising century-plus stand with surviving opener Gautam Gambhir, seeing off the new ball which is kryptonite in the hands of the South African pacers, and playing some gutsy, forceful shots to off-set the frequently mounting pressure.
When Tendulkar takes guard on a crucial Day 3, he is bound to be secure in the belief that he has weathered the storm of the South African pace attack and can well and truly dominate now. A major chunk of the challenge towards reaching another century was left behind on Day 2.
In between his glorious stroke-play, highlighted by a majestic double-four off Morne Morkel in the 23rd over, he survived a couple of close shaves.In the 18th over, Ashwell Prince, who was not having a good day in the slips, didn't leap high enough to snatch a thick edge from Tendulkar's bat which flew to the third-man boundary.
The batsman would have again had his heart in his mouth, when in the 26th over, off-spinner Paul Harris unleashed a prolonged yell for lbw after apparently catching Tendulker in line with a delivery that straightened after pitching. But Umpire Simon Taufel awarded Tendulkar the benefit of the doubt which was vindicated by replays that showed the ball would have gone on to only brush the leg stump.
Commentator Ravi Shastri observed that Sachin liked to "put on a good show" at Cape Town. Judging from his last match here, he partially succeeded in doing that. Back in 2006-2007, Tendulkar made a gritty 64 in the first innings towards India's commanding total of 414, before he was undone by a real turner from Harris, getting caught by Jacques Kallis at slip.
Then, in the second innings, he disappointed, rustling up a mere 14 before getting rapped in-front by pace-demon Shaun Pollock. He had thus contributed to India's downfall in the match, as the visitors were bowled out for 169 and then went on to lose the encounter by 5 wickets, and also the series 1-2.
Hopefully, such misfortune won't befall the batting maestro this time around and he will indeed see his way through to another prized ton.