Melbourne: Sachin Tendulkar rued the break up of his blossoming partnership with Sourav Ganguly on Thursday and said it had probably changed the face of India's entire first innings.
Tendulkar, who looked at ease on the low and slow wicket at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, had set about rebuilding the innings with Ganguly after India slumped to 55-3 on the second day of the first Test against Australia.
However, just as Tendulkar appeared set for a big innings he chopped a Stuart Clark delivery onto his stumps to be dismissed less than 10 minutes before the tea interval with the score on 130-4.
Yuvraj Singh was dismissed in the final over before tea to leave India floundering at the break and they were then bowled out late on Thursday for 196 in reply to Australia's 343.
At stumps, they trailed the hosts by 179 after Matthew Hayden (22) and Phil Jaques (10) had moved their side to 32 without loss.
"The partnership we had, if we had converted that into a big partnership, could have made a huge difference to the later batting order and that was probably an important wicket," Tendulkar said of his dismissal for 62.
"I was disappointed. I knew there was 10 minutes before tea and the idea was to play out as many balls until tea. But I misjudged it and it came a bit slower than I expected off the wicket."
Ganguly was eventually dismissed for 43 while captain Anil Kumble was the next highest scorer with 27 after Clark and Brett Lee shared eight wickets between them.
Tendulkar said the stranglehold that Lee and fellow opening bowler Mitchell Johnson had placed on Wasim Jaffer and Rahul Dravid at the top of the order, when five of the first seven overs were maidens, was just "one of those days".
"You are not always going to strike the ball the way you want and sometimes the balls aren't always in the areas where you can strike them comfortably," Tendulkar said.
"You've just got to fight it out and it was one of those days where both of the openers needed to do that. There have been times in Test cricket where you have to play it out and today was one of them."