Bangalore: Batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar held Indian innings together on the opening day of the fourth and final Test against Australia at the Adelaide Oval Thursday.
Tendulkar remained unconquered on 124 - 39th Test hundred- studded with 10 hits to the fence and three over it.
After captain Anil Kumble won the toss and elected to bat, the tourists were 309 for five at stumps, with Sachin and Dhoni (6) at the crease.
In what is likely to be his last game on Australian soil, Tendulkar was forced to go it alone in the face of a withering home attack after several of his teammates failed to build on the decent starts, till he found an able ally in VVS Laxman (51, 5X4s). And the duo knitted a fine 129-run partnership to pull their side out of trouble and helped 'em reach a comfortable total.
Tendulkar looked solid throughout his chanceless innings. He played the Aussie seamers with caution-mixed-aggression and meted out some rough treatment to Hogg carting the wrist spinner for towering sixes one over mid-wicket and the second one over long-off. Laxman on the other hand was his usual self pushing the ball in gaps with immaculate timing.
Earlier, Indian batsmen failed to capitalise the starts they had on a good batting wicket, the partnerships for the first four Indian wickets all exceeded 30, yet none reached 50.
Opener Virender Sehwag continued to enjoy his recall and made 63, but makeshift opener Irfan Pathan (9), Rahul Dravid (18) and Sourav Ganguly (7) all fell cheaply.
Pathan batted at number eight in the third Test in Perth, but stepped up to the opening role in the absence of regular opener Jaffer and put on 34 for the first wicket with Sehwag, but pushed at a Johnson (2-53) delivery and only managed to get an edge to wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist.
After adding 48 with Sehwag, Dravid fell in similar fashion to Johnson, caught at second slip from a ball that angled across him.
Sehwag lived dangerously and eventually got an outside edge to first slip Matthew Hayden from the bowling of Brett Lee.
Ganguly was the unluckiest of the batsmen, adjudged lbw to recalled spinner Brad Hogg when the ball struck him outside the line of off stump and appeared to be missing. Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf took unusually long time before handing the decision in bowler's favour.
Aussie new-ball bowlers Johnson and Lee bowled a hostile first spell and later on coming in short spells troubled tourists with the pace and movements. Both plucked two wickets apiece. Wrist spinner Brad Hogg dismissed Ganguly - his bunny.