SYDNEY: Sachin Tendulkar sublimely batted India into the lead in the second Test with a record 38th Test century to turn the pressure back on to Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday.
'The Little Master' defied all efforts from cricket's No.1 team to get him out and remained undefeated on 154 in almost seven hours at the crease off 243 balls with 14 boundaries and a six.
Aided by some determined lower-order partnerships Tendulkar rallied India to 532 and a handy 69-run innings lead with two days to get a result.
Australia had a nervy 19 minutes and five overs to reach stumps at 13 without loss with Phil Jaques on eight and Matthew Hayden not out five.
The 34-year-old Indian cricket hero hit his eighth century against Australia and completed his third century in four Tests at the ground to extend his SCG average to a stunning 326 from six innings with four not outs.
Tendulkar, halfway through his 144th Test match, now has amassed 11,520 runs and he is just 433 runs away from retired West Indian Brian Lara's world record of 11,953.
Tendulkar, revered by Australian cricket fans for his batting artistry on his farewell tour here, received a rapturous ovation upon reaching yet another century.
Tendulkar stretched his world record number of centuries to four more than Lara and fellow Indian Sunil Gavaskar.
On India's last tour to Australia in 2003/04 Tendulkar scored an unbeaten 241 at the SCG and he also hit an unconquered 148 in the drawn 1992 Sydney Test in his first tour of Australia.
He was pivotal in India adding 187 runs for the last three wickets on Friday as the tail wagged vigorously.
Tailenders Harbhajan Singh helped himself to 63 off 92 balls, RP Singh to 13 off 22 and Ishant Sharma to 23 off 34 to keep Australia in the field for virtually all of the third day.
Centuries by Tendulkar and V.V.S. Laxman (109) have turned around India's fortunes after last week's ignominious 337-run defeat in Melbourne and given them a chance of keeping alive the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series over the closing two days.
Paceman Brett Lee finished with 5-119 off 32.2 overs and combined with wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist for the dismissials of Mahendra Dhoni (2) and skipper Anil Kumble (2).
Dhoni's wicket was Gilchrist's 400th Test dismissal.
In the morning session leg-spinner Brad Hogg enticed Sourav Ganguly on 67 to hit over the top of the ringed field only to find Mike Hussey at deep mid-off.
Ganguly slammed his bat into the ground before he left the wicket annoyed that he had fallen for the Australian trap set for him.
The former Indian skipper batted for 116 minutes and hit seven fours and a straight hit six off spinner Michael Clarke off 78 balls and put on 108 for the fourth wicket with Tendulkar.
Yuvraj Singh followed up his duck and five in last week's first Melbourne Test with another batting failure.
The under-fire No.6 was trapped leg before wicket for 12 by a Brett Lee inswinger.
Yuvraj held his place in the side for the Sydney Test despite a push for opener Virender Sehwag to rejoin the team after a year out of Test cricket and ease Rahul Dravid back to his customary No.3 batting position.