Sachin's 29th ton gives India day 1 honours

Published: Saturday, April 20, 2002, 9:13 [IST]
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India had, if not an excellent, a pretty satisfactory outing at Port of Spain on the first day of the second Test match, ending the day with 262 for four, after being put into bat. The star of the day was Sachin Tendulkar who equaled Don Bradman's record of 29 Test centuries and continues to be unbeaten on 113. Having to counter an on-and-off West Indies attack - which bowled well in patches, India did well to get on top and put the first points on the board. Although India lost two early wickets (38 for 2) it can consider it a blessing in disguise to have been put into bat on a wicket that holds no threat. India prospered mainly through a solid third wicket partnership of 124 runs between Rahul Dravid (67) and Tendulkar.

Tendulkar then put on 56 for the fourth wicket with Saurav Ganguly (25). The West Indian bowlers barring Cuffy were pedestrian in their effort and the Indians made most of it. Tendulkar did have his share of luck and there was a period of time when he looked very circumspect but once he was through that period he was back cutting and driving the ball with the seal of the Champion firmly stamped on it. Dravid, on the other hand, was masterly from word go - starting off from where he left off at Bourda. With the confidence of a big century behind his back, Dravid, who came in one-drop, was authoritative from ball one - his feet moving with relative ease.

Fortunately for India, the skipper realised that he (sorry to say this) was a misfit at number three which meant that Dravid regained his rightful slot - the Indian batting looked much more sturdy with the presence of Dravid out there. When all looked well and it looked like the Dravid-Sachin pair would take India to a position of immense strength, Dravid perished to an in coming ball from Black which found its way to the stumps ( India 162 for 3). However, the Champion by then had hit a high gear and he saw to it that West Indies did not reap the advantage of that unexpected wicket. He quickly put runs on the board and Ganguly too sent a few to the ropes to have India back on track again.

It was a day where Ganguly could have possibly had no complaints - his timing was right on top, the ball old and soft, the bowlers pretty tired and he had got himself a start - but he threw it away. Ganguly stepped out in an attempt to heave Hooper over the top only to hand Dillon at mid-off a regulation catch (India 218 for four). Laxman then joined Tendulkar and suffered a couple of anxious moments with the new ball. He edged Cuffy to Lara at first slip, who just refused to accept it. He then later edged Dillon which fell marginally short of Hooper at second slip.

However, the pair took India to close of play without further damage and added 44 unfinished runs for the fifth wicket. India now has the edge and if it can come on Saturday and drive home the advantage the pressure will most certainly rest with the West Indies.

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