BANGALORE, India // The majestic Sachin Tendulkar struck an unbeaten 191 and starred in a marathon 308-run stand with Murali Vijay to fuel India’s robust reply in the second Test against Australia yesterday.
A day after crossing the 14,000 Test runs mark, Tendulkar lit up third day’s play with his 49th Test century while Vijay (139) registered his maiden ton on a belter of a track to help India reach 435 for five wickets at close.
MS Dhoni (11) was at the wicket with Tendulkar at stumps with India, who lead the two-match series 1-0, 43 runs behind Australia’s first innings total of 478.
Tendulkar hit a sparkling 319-ball knock studded with 20 fours and two sixes to remain on course for his sixth Test double century.
Resuming on 128 for two, both Tendulkar and Vijay, who was reprimanded by Chris Broad, the match referee, for wearing too many logos on his pad on Sunday, made the most of a highly productive morning session when boundaries flowed from their bats.
Tendulkar hit Nathan Hauritz for a six to reach 99 and repeated the treatment in the off-spinner’s next over to bring up his century and trigger boisterous celebrations at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. While teammates, opponents and the crowd applauded his feat, Tendulkar took off his helmet, raised the bat, looked skywards and then closed eyes in a silent prayer.
Tendulkar passed the 150-mark after tea, while Vijay brought up the 300-run stand with a slog down to the backward point boundary.
Vijay took a more conservative way to reach his century, with a single off Peter George, but was more expressive in celebration, jumping and punching the air.
“It was really special. Playing with Sachin Tendulkar was a dream-come-true for me,” Vijay told Neo Cricket channel.
And just when Vijay seemed to have picked up his scoring pace – his century having taken 234 deliveries – Mitchell Johnson finally broke the partnership, India’s highest third wicket stand against Australia, getting the batsman to edge behind to Tim Paine, the wicketkeeper. He then had debutant Cheteshwar Pujara lbw for four in the same over.
New man Suresh Raina wasted little time in settling in, smashing five boundaries for his 32, but was undone by Michael Clarke’s flight and a down-the-wicket slog only found the hands of Ben Hilfenhaus at mid-on.
“With [India having] a big partnership of 300, it’s been a tough day for the bowlers. As a fast bowler, you want a bit of bounce and carry but it [the pitch] was a bit slow,” a frustrated Johnson said.
“We stuck through the day and got a few wickets in the end to put some pressure on them. We saw signs of deterioration in the wicket at the end. Some kept low, a couple jumped.”
Vijay survived an anxious moment when he was on 49 as he charged down the wicket, but a direct throw from Hauritz narrowly missed the stumps. Hauritz was the most expensive Australian bowler with 0-153 from 39 overs, while Johnson took 3-89 from 23.