Leeds: Sachin Tendulkar's unbeaten 113, steered India into a commanding position against England at Headingley on Friday.
At tea on the second day India was 421 for three after winning the toss with captain Saurav Ganguly 45 not out, the pair sharing an unbroken stand of 86. Tendulkar, who made 92 in the drawn second Test at Trent Bridge, reached three figures with his 13th boundary, an on-drive off left-arm spinner Ashley Giles. It was a particularly sweet moment for 29-year-old Tendulkar, still a popular figure here from his season as Yorkshire's first overseas player 10 years ago.
This was his maiden first-class century at Headingley and it clearly meant a lot, Tendulkar celebrating with an exuberant wave of the bat. His 30th Test hundred had come off 171 balls and took him past Australia legend Don Bradman's mark of 29 with only India great Sunil Gavaskar (34) having made more centuries at this level. India started the second session with Rahul Dravid 130 not out and Tendulkar 53 not out.
Dravid, who made a hundred during India's rearguard action at Trent Bridge, immediately got stuck into the previously threatening Alex Tudor, taking 12 runs off the Surrey quick in the first over after lunch courtesy of three elegant boundaries. Tendulkar then belted current Yorkshire favourite Matthew Hoggard through the covers for four. And when he reached 74 he overtook former England batsman David Gower's mark of 8,231 runs to move into seventh place in the all-time list of leading Test run-scorers. Conditions were still overcast and continuing to assist swing bowling. But the batsmen were so well set that it seemed to make no difference.
England's quicks, criticised by coach Duncan Fletcher for bowling too short on Thursday, reacted by going to the other extreme and generally over-pitched. Meanwhile in a bid to restore control, England captain Nasser Hussain brought Giles on. And he was rewarded when in the ninth over after lunch he Warwickshire Giles had Dravid stumped for 148 by Alec Stewart, the turn beating the batsman's defensive push after he advanced down the pitch. Dravid, nicknamed 'The Wall' for his resilience faced 307 balls including 23 fours in an innings lasting over seven hours.
Together with Tendulkar he put on 150 for the third wicket in 39 overs to leave India 335 for three. In the morning India resumed on 236 for two with Dravid 110 not out and Tendulkar 18 not out after rain delayed the start of play by 55 minutes. And, unlike Thursday's cautious start India was soon into its stride with 41 runs coming off the first 10 overs.