Tendulkar's ton sails India to the top

Published: Friday, March 20, 2009, 11:44 [IST]
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NZ reeling after Tendulkar's ton

Hamilton: India dominated the third day of test as New Zealand trail by 166 with seven wickets in hand.

New Zealand were 75/3 in their second innings at stumps on Day 3. With Harbhajan Singh getting sharp turn and Munaf Patel hinting at some reverse swing, New Zealand's prospects of saving the game were decidedly slim.

Tendulkar was the star today with his 42nd century and a fifty by Zaheer Khan pushed the score to 520.

Tendulkar resumed Friday at 70 not out, having batted for 210 minutes on the second day for his 52nd half-century in his 157th Test. Sachin's 260-ball innings included 26 boundaries and lasted over six hours and was largely responsible for the demanding total posted by the Indians. The innings marked the 18th time in his career Tendulkar has scored 150 or more.

It was a superb delivery from O'Brien that forced the mistake from Tendulkar and he fully deserved the wicket after an excellent spell which saw him take two wickets for 11 runs in four overs.

Tendulkar took 20 runs from the first 13 balls he faced on Friday to move into the 90s, then slowed before reaching his century from 168 balls in 260 minutes and with 15 fours.

He took a pair of twos and two singles to reach 96, then a three to got to 99, denied his century at that point by a desperate save on the cover boundary by New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori.

Tension built around Seddon Park, and among a crowd of several thousand made up overwhelmingly of New Zealanders of Indian descent, as Tendulkar played out a maiden over from Chris Martin to remain poised for 10 minutes on 99.

Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni saw out a second maiden from O'Brien before Tendulkar turned the first ball of the next over, bowled by James Franklin, behind square leg for a single. Tendulkar typically raised his bat and helmet to the crowd and looked skyward before composing himself and resuming his innings.

Dhoni made 47 and No. 9 Khan later hit an unbeaten 51 from 46 balls — his third Test half-century — to increase India's advantage.

Tendulkar began the day by walking to the ground with English umpire Ian Gould, a remarkable event in itself for one of the world's most recognized sportspeople.

Tendulkar can hardly leave his home in India without being mobbed by fans but in Hamilton, New Zealand's fifth-largest city, he has been able to stroll to and from the ground each day without attracting a crowd, seldom even a glance.


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