Ahemdabad: Ashley Giles helped England survive a Sachin Tendulkar blitz with a five-wicket haul on the third day of the second Test against India in Ahemdabad on Thursday.
Left-arm spinner Giles finished with a career-best five for 67 as Indiawas dismissed for 291 in reply to England's 407. The tourists were 15for no loss in their second innings for an overall lead of 131, withMarcus Trescothick (10) and Mark Butcher (5) at the crease.
Tendulkar slammed a masterful 103 for his 27th Test century to helpIndia avoid follow-on after the hosts had been reduced to 93 for four inthe morning session.Giles, however, plotted an Indian collapse after Tendulkar's dismissal,taking his second five-wicket haul in a Test innings. The Warwickshirespinner was well supported by seamers Matthew Hoggard and AndrewFlintoff, who shared four wickets to keep pressure on Tendulkar's teammates.
India was in danger of following on as it needed 115 more runs with sixwickets in hand, but Tendulkar came to his team's rescue with a vigorouscounter-attack against defensive, disciplined England bowling.He joins Australians Steve Waugh and Allan Border who also have 27 Testhundreds to their credit.
Only Australian Don Bradman (29) and Indian Sunil Gavaskar (34) are ahead of him.The master batsman dominated a 118-run stand for the fifth wicket withVenkat Sai Laxman, who returned to form with 75. Tendulkar struck onesix off off spinner Richard Dawson over long-on and 12 fours in his197-ball knock, much to the delight of nearly 20,000 spectators at the Motera Stadium.Tendulkar fell attacking, driving Hoggard to Nasser Hussain at mid-onjust before tea.
Thereafter, India kept losing wickets at regularintervals against an accurate Giles.Laxman was the lone batsman to stay at the crease as India surrenderedits last six wickets for 80 runs, including three in successive overs ofGiles. The middle-order batsman initially struggled, but grew inconfidence with each shot as he flicked and drove on the way to ahalf-century.Virender Sehwag, returning to the squad after serving a one-match ban,played a One-day innings in a Test match as he smashed one six offDawson and two fours in his 34-ball 20.
India, however, needed stayers to give Laxman company, but found none asGiles kept striking in quick succession. Runs were hard to come by inthe first session against England's run-containing bowling, butTendulkar batted impressively in the afternoon and exploded with aflurry of wristy strokes.He reached his hundred with a pulled boundary off Hoggard as Indiascored 94 in two hours. In contrast, the first session had produced just55 runs.
Hoggard and Flintoff had put India in trouble as they sharedtwo early wickets after the hosts had resumed at 71 for two.Rahul Dravid added just two to his overnight score of five before edgingHoggard to wicket-keeper James Foster.
Skipper Saurav Ganguly was notallowed to settle down as he scored five before edging Flintoff to theslips where substitute Martyn Ball took a low catch.Even Tendulkar, a free-stroking batsman, was unable to take liberties against a defensive England bowling as India added 20 runs in theopening hour.Hoggard kept testing the Indians with a tight line of attack on oraround off-stump, while Giles attacked the leg in order to induce errorsfrom the batsmen.
Tendulkar, however, was at his best in the next session, flicking andsweeping powerfully to beat a packed off-side field. His efforts,however, were not enough to put his team in a comfortable position.