First Test Match
Chennai - Day Four
England 316 (A J Strauss 123, M J Prior 53 no, A N Cook 52) & 311-9 dec (P D Collingwood 108, A J Strauss 108) v India 241 (M S Dhoni 53) & 387-4 (S R Tendulkar 103 no, Yuvraj Singh 85 no, V Sehwag 83, G Gambhir 66)
India beat England by 6 wkts
Sachin Tendulkar hit an unbeaten hundred as India pulled off the fourth highest run chase in Test history to win the series opener against England in Chennai.
The Little Master's 41st Test ton helped the hosts reach a target of 387 with six wickets to spare on the final day of an absorbing match that had ebbed and flowed throughout.
Even coming into the final day all three outcomes were possible and England had high hopes of victory when they reduced India to 224-4 shortly after lunch.
However, Yuvraj Singh stood firm in the face of some verbal volleys to hit 85 not out, sharing in a match-winning fifth-wicket stand of 163.
Fittingly it was Tendulkar who hit the winning runs, going through to three figures in the process, after over five hours at the crease.
His superb innings of 103 included just nine fours although he did receive one let-off with just 10 to his name, Alastair Cook unable to grasp a sharp, low chance at silly point off the bowling of Graeme Swann.
India's efforts in the final innings were even more impressive considering the previous highest fourth-innings chase at the Chepauk Stadium in Tests had been a paltry 155-8, while on Indian soil it was 276.
The platform for their record-breaking feat was laid by Virender Sehwag on the fourth evening, the opener's 68-ball knock of 83 setting the tone.
Resuming in the morning needing a further 256 runs with nine wickets in hand, India's hopes suffered an early blow when Rahul Dravid edged Andrew Flintoff through to wicketkeeper Matt Prior in just the third over of the day.
England did manage one more success before lunch when James Anderson had opener Gautam Gambhir (66) well caught at gully by Paul Collingwood.
VVS Laxman came in and immediately looked in fine form - hitting two glorious straight boundaries off Flintoff - to reach 24, but he perished four overs into the afternoon, flicking Swann straight to Ian Bell at short leg.
With the recalled Yuvraj coming to the crease under pressure following the nature of his first-innings dismissal, it appeared a game that had simmered for so long had finally come to boiling point.
Crucially, England allowed Yuvraj to settle in against the spinners and by the time the outstanding Flintoff and Steve Harmison did come into the attack, the left-hander was well set and not allowing any chatter to disturb his concentration.
Tendulkar kept his partner cool throughout and together they eased India home with 21 overs to spare, giving a much-needed boost to a nation still coming to terms with last month's terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
Considering their hectic build-up for a series that at one stage looked unlikely to happen, England can take some positives out of the defeat, though they will look back on a missed opportunity for success on the sub-continent.
Kevin Pietersen will now have to lift his troops quickly following this major disappointment ahead of the second Test, which starts on Friday in Mohali.