x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Tendulkar steadies India against Australia

A century from Sachin Tendulkar gave India the advantage against Australia on the opening day of the fourth Test.

Scahin Tendulkar plays a shot on his way to 109. His innings have put India in the driving seat of the fourth Test in Nagpur.
Scahin Tendulkar plays a shot on his way to 109. His innings have put India in the driving seat of the fourth Test in Nagpur.

NAGPUR // A century from Sachin Tendulkar gave India the advantage against Australia on the opening day of the fourth Test. Tendulkar, who was dropped on 85 and 98 and also survived a run-out attempt just after passing his half-century, got to his 40th Test hundred in the final session. His 109, allied with half-centuries from Virender Sehwag (66) and VVS Laxman (64), enabled India to reach 311-5 at stumps yesterday. Sourav Ganguly, who is playing his final Test for India, was on 27 at the close with captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on four. The off-spinner Jason Krejza, who was picked in place of paceman Stuart Clark, proved expensive on his debut but still claimed a three-wicket haul. Sehwag and his new opening partner Murali Vijay (33) had exploded off the blocks after Dhoni had won yet another toss for India. The two plundered 70 runs in the first hour as they pushed the visitors - who are 1-0 down in the series - on to the back foot.Vijay took to his first Test with gusto only a day after being rushed into the side to replace the banned Gautam Gambhir. Shane Watson, however, surprised Vijay with a rising bouncer and inducing an edge which was caught behind by Brad Haddin. Sehwag brought up his half-century in just 45 deliveries and looked set for a big score when he chopped a delivery from Krejza back on to his stumps. An out-of-form Rahul Dravid handed Krejza a bonus second wicket after jabbing at a delivery for an easy catch to Simon Katich at short leg. Tendulkar, who had walked out with India in a spot of bother at 116-3, steadied the ship and his partnership with Laxman added 146 runs for the fourth wicket. Laxman, playing his 100th Test, reached his half-century off 126 deliveries. But when he reached 64 he became Krejza's third victim. The right-handed batsman moved to make room to cut Krejza on the off, but the ball spun sharply and caught the top edge which Haddin snaffled. Tendulkar's century looked anything but assured as he was dropped twice. Mitchell Johnson made a mess of a fairly straight forward chance as Tendulkar looked to hit over the top and miscued. And Brett Lee dropped another opportunity, Krejza being the unfortunate bowler on both occasions . Johnson, however, trapped Tendulkar lbw as the batsman shuffled back to defend. * PA Sport