Nagpur: India was 363 for four, 76 runs ahead of Zimbabwe's first innings score of 287, at tea on the third day of the first Test on Saturday. Sachin Tendulkar, who notched up his 28th Test century, was batting on 102 while V V S Laxman was on two. India lost the wicket of skipper Saurav Ganguly (38) in the post lunch session. Ganguly and Sachin added 97 runs for the fourth wicket before the Indian skipper holed out to Grant Flower of Price. Only Indian Sunil Gavaskar (34 centuries in 125 Tests) and Australian Don Bradman (29/52) are now ahead of Tendulkar, who was joint-third with Australians Allan Border and Steve Waugh on 27.
Tendulkar, playing his 90th Test, achieved the feat in the last over before the break when he flicked seamer Travis Friend to mid-wicket for a brace to complete his third century against Zimbabwe. Earlier, India continued to consolidate its position, albeit slowly, as it reached within 13 runs of Zimbabwe first innings total with seven wickets intact at lunch. India, which resumed at their overnight 209 for two, inched forward to 274 for three in the 29 overs bowled in the morning session while losing the wicket of Rahul Dravid, who made a solid 65.
At the break, Sachin Tendulkar was batting on 46 while skipper Saurav Ganguly was on nine. The Zimbabweans made the going tough for India in the initial overs with Dravid, who was not out on 57 overnight, finding it more difficult carry his innings. Tendulkar was more at ease and did the bulk of the scoring as India could add only 30-odd runs in the first hour. Things did not improve in the second half of the session too, though the batsmen were never in any kind of trouble.
Dravid, who was associated in 130-run second wicket partnership with centurion Shiv Sunder Das, was the only man to be dismissed when he played on to his stumps a delivery from Heath Streak. The ball was short and wide but kept low and when Dravid tried to cut it, he only managed an inside edge, dragging it to the stumps. Dravid batted for 235 minutes for his 65 runs.