Mumbai - Sachin Tendulkar fell agonisingly short of an unprecedented 100th hundred while Ravichandran Ashwin hit a maiden century as the third Test between India and the West Indies headed for a draw on Friday.
Tendulkar scored a superb 94 and Ashwin a robust 103 in only his third Test before India were bowled out for 482 in their first innings in reply to the West Indies' 590 on the penultimate day.
The tourists were 81-2 in their second innings at stumps for an overall lead of 189 with eight wickets in hand, with teenager Kraigg Brathwaite (34 not out) and Darren Bravo (27 not out) at the crease.
Left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha, who opened the attack, removed Adrian Barath (three) and Kirk Edwards (17).
India, needing 391 to avoid the follow-on, were struggling at 331-6 before Virat Kohli (52) and Ashwin added 97 valuable runs for the seventh wicket at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
Ashwin also became the third Indian after Vinoo Mankad and Polly Umrigar to grab five wickets in an innings and score a century in the same Test. He hit two sixes and 15 fours in his 118-ball knock.
It was the first time in the history of Test cricket that 11 half-centuries or more were scored in the first innings of a match, with the West Indies making six and India five.
Tendulkar looked set to complete a century of centuries as he had been timing the ball remarkably well before he attempted to drive paceman Ravi Rampaul on the up and was caught by Darren Sammy at second slip.
While the West Indies celebrated the huge success, the "Little Master" walked back dejectedly and nearly 15,000 cheering spectators suddenly fell silent at the 32,000-capacity stadium.
"It was just the right ball at the right time. We had our plans to unsettle him (Tendulkar) a little bit and tried to attack him a little more. He nicked it and it was a good feeling," said Rampaul.
"When I walked back to the boundary it wasn't all that nice. I got heckled in a way. That's how cricket goes and I know a lot of fans are down heartbroken, but we have our job to do such as he has his job to do."
With the spectators applauding each run from Tendulkar and chanting "Sa-chin, Sachin", the batting star started the day with an attacking stroke when he flicked Rampaul past square-leg for a four in the opening over.
Tendulkar, 67 overnight, continued to play attractive shots as he straight-drove Rampaul for a four and then uppercut paceman Fidel Edwards over the slips for a six to move into the nineties before the disaster struck.
He smashed two sixes and eight fours in his 153-ball knock.
"I think a lot of people have started putting unnecessary pressure as he (Tendulkar) has achieved so much. He would be disappointed, but he is not the one to be disappointed for too long and was pretty relaxed," said Kohli.
"He (Ashwin) was pretty relaxed and confident. He came out and started playing shots. It was good he was in that kind of space, came out and timed the ball well. It was a very good innings from him."
Skipper Sammy's words came true a day after he said his team hoped to break a "few Indian hearts" by trying to get local hero Tendulkar out early with a disciplined bowling performance. In fact, his team broke millions of hearts.
It was the 10th time in an illustrious 184-Test career that Tendulkar had fallen in the nineties.
Tendulkar, who scored his 99th international hundred against South Africa in a World Cup match in Nagpur in March, also came close to achieving the feat in the fourth Test in England in August before being dismissed for 91.
India, resuming 281-3, lost two more wickets in the morning as Venkatsai Laxman (32) was caught by Marlon Samuels at gully off Edwards off the first ball he faced and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (eight) was bowled by Sammy.
India lead 2-0 in the series after winning the opening Test in New Delhi by five wickets and the second match in Kolkata by an innings and 15 runs.
West Indies 1st innings 590 (D. Bravo 166, K. Edwards 86, K. Powell 81, K. Brathwaite 68, A. Barath 62, M. Samuels 61; R. Ashwin 5-156)
India 1st innings (overnight 281-3):
G. Gambhir c Baugh b Rampaul 55
V. Sehwag b Sammy 37
R. Dravid b Samuels 82
S. Tendulkar c Sammy b Rampaul 94
V. Laxman c Samuels b F. Edwards 32
V. Kohli c F. Edwards b Bishoo 52
MS Dhoni b Sammy 8
R. Ashwin c Barath b Rampaul 103
I. Sharma c Bravo b Samuels 5
V. Aaron b Samuels 4
P. Ojha not out 0
Extras (b1, nb5, w4) 10
Total (for all out; 135.4 overs) 482
Fall of wickets: 1-67 (Sehwag), 2-138 (Gambhir), 3-224 (Dravid), 4-287 (Laxman), 5-322 (Tendulkar), 6-331 (Dhoni), 7-428 (Kohli), 8-455 (Sharma), 9-463 (Aaron), 10-482 (Ashwin).
Bowling: F. Edwards 28-4-116-1 (nb5), Rampaul 24.4-3-95-3 (w2), Sammy 26-3-90-2 (w2), Samuels 17-0-74-3, Bishoo 40-6-106-1.
West Indies 2nd innings:
A. Barath c Laxman b Ojha 3
K. Brathwaite not out 34
K. Edwards st Dhoni b Ojha 17
D. Bravo not out 27
Total (for two wickets; 34 overs) 81
Fall of wickets: 1-3 (Barath), 2-30 (K. Edwards).
Bowling: Ojha 15-2-27-2, Sharma 5-2-12-0, Aaron 3-0-14-0, Ashwin 8-0-20-0, Sehwag 2-0-3-0, Tendulkar 1-0-5-0.
Toss: West Indies
Umpires: Tony Hill (NZL) and Bruce Oxenford (AUS)
TV umpire: Shavir Tarapore (IND)
Match referee: David Boon (AUS)