Tendulkar nears record as India fight for a draw

Published: Monday, October 13, 2008, 15:30 [IST]
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Sachin Tendulkar was just 17 runs away from becoming Test cricket's leading scorer as India battled to save the first Test against Australia here on Monday.

India, set a victory target of 299 runs, went to tea on the fifth and final day at 130-3 in their second knock, needing to bat out the final session to force a draw at the start of the four-match series.

Tendulkar, 35, who came to bat 64 short of overtaking retired West Indian Brian Lara's tally of 11,953 runs, was unbeaten at the break on a watchful 47.

Venkatsai Laxman was the other batsman at the crease on 28, having put on 53 for the unbroken fourth wicket with Tendulkar.

Opener Gautam Gambhir was the lone batsman dismissed in the post-lunch session, bowled for 29 by left-arm seamer Mitchell Johnson.

Gambhir, who added 53 with Tendulkar, failed to take advantage of surviving two close appeals off a single delivery.

As Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf turned down Stuart Clark's leg-before shout, wicket-keeper Brad Haddin threw down the stumps and the appeal was referred to the TV umpire.

Replays showed Gambhir had just made his ground as the bails went off.

Australia, who resumed at the overnight score of 193-5, declared their second innings at 228-6 half-an-hour after the start to give their bowlers a minimum of 83 overs to dismiss India.

Shane Watson had made 41 when he was bowled by seamer Ishant Sharma, who claimed three of the six Australian wickets to fall.

Haddin hit an unbeaten 35, while Cameron White was on 18 when skipper Ricky Ponting declared.

India lost in-form opener Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid before lunch as they slipped to 24-2 by the ninth over.

Sehwag was caught by Matthew Hayden at first slip off Clark for six, one run after being missed by Haddin off the same bowler.

Ponting then dived to his right at mid-wicket to remove Dravid for five with a spectacular catch as the batsman played an on-drive to an overpitched ball from Brett Lee.

The remaining three Tests will be played in Mohali (Oct 17-21), New Delhi (Oct 29- Nov 2) and Nagpur (Nov 6-10).

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