Tendulkar ton drives India
Sachin Tendulkar's 40th Test hundred guided India to 311-5 on the first day of the series decider against Australia.
By Graeme Mair
Last Updated: 07/11/08 10:43am
India 311-5 (S R Tendulkar 109, V Sehwag 66, V V S Laxman 64) v Australia
Sachin Tendulkar's 40th Test hundred guided India to 311-5 on the first day of the fourth and deciding Test against Australia in Nagpur.
Tendulkar was well supported by half-centuries from Virender Sehwag and VVS Laxman as the hosts, who came into the game holding a 1-0 advantage, laid the platform for a big first-innings score.
India recovered from a low point of 116-3 in the morning session after Australia's debutant off-spinner Jason Krejza had taken two quick wickets.
Krejza, selected alongside Cameron White in a two-pronged spin attack, also accounted for Laxman in the evening to finish with three, albeit expensive, scalps.
His day could have been even better had either of the chances given by Tendulkar - when on 85 and 98 - been taken.
The right-hander twice miscued attempts to hit over the top as he approached three figures.
But Mitchell Johnson, pedalling back from mid-off, let the first one slip through his fingers, while Brett Lee failed to grasp a more difficult over-the-shoulder opportunity after making good ground from the same position.
Tendulkar and Laxman batted throughout the afternoon while adding 146 before both departed in the final session.
In-form Laxman, on the occasion of his 100th Test cap, was caught behind for 64 after attempting to make room to cut Krejza (3-138).
Tendulkar brought up his century from 166 balls but added only nine more before falling lbw to Johnson (1-54) against the second new ball.
Sourav Ganguly (27no), making his farewell appearance, and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (4no) saw India safely to the close.
With a dry, bare pitch having been produced at the newly constructed VCA Stadium, Australia opted to leave out seamer Stuart Clark to accommodate two spinners.
India also included a debutant, opening batsman Murali Vijay replaced the suspended Gautam Gambhir.
And the new boy combined with Sehwag to give his side a flying start after captain Dhoni called correctly at the toss.
Wayward new ball spells from Lee and Johnson allowed the opening pair to add 70 inside the first hour.
The introduction of Krejza was initially treated with disdain, Sehwag hitting him for a four and a six off consecutive deliveries in his first over and nine runs from three deliveries in his third.
Sehwag brought up his half-century - off just 45 deliveries - by turning the spinner through square leg for a single.
Vijay was first to depart, undone by a Shane Watson (1-35) delivery that bounced steeply to be caught behind for 33.
And that prompted a mini-collapse as Krejza removed Sehwag and Rahul Dravid within the space of five overs.
Sehwag chopped onto his stumps to end a 69-ball knock of 66, while Dravid's lean series continued when he propped forward and sent an inside edge to Simon Katich at short-leg for a two-ball duck.
But Australia's window of opportunity was slammed shut by fourth-wicket pair Tendulkar and Laxman, who defied them for the next 46 overs to turn the momentum firmly back in the hosts' favour.