Sehwag, Tendulkar guide India to 187/4


Adelaide : Half centuries from Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar helped India to reach 187 for four in the first innings at tea against Australia on the opening day of the fourth and the final Test match here Thursday.

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Tendulkar was batting on 55 and V.V.S. Laxman on 16 when the umpires called for tea at the Adelaide Oval, after India captain Anil Kumble won the toss and elected to bat.

Sehwag gave India a good start with his 63 from 90 balls, and Tendulkar got to his half-century. But double strikes from left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Johnson and wicket each from Brett Lee and Brad Hogg reined in the Indians, who had scored 51 runs in the opening hour of the match.

Tendulkar and Sehwag added 40 runs for the third wicket after Johnson reduced India to 82 for two in the 24th over. They went into lunch at 89 with Sehwag batting on 54 and Sachin Tendulkar yet to open his account.

Tednulkar took 18 balls to get off the mark but after he opened his account, the maestro was impeccable in his timing and shot selection. Tendulkar caressed Johnson for three fours in an over to help India past 100. Lee’s rising delivery did strike him a painful blow in the ribs and he escaped when his cut off Hogg fell just short of Michael Clarke at backward point.

Sehwag, on the other end, was struggling to regain his touch but still managed to hit fours with elegance. His 90-ball innings came to an end when he flirted with Lee’s outgoing delivery and could only find the edge through to Matthew Hayden at first slip.

India went in for an unusual opener, Irfan Pathan. He replaced an out of form Wasim Jaffer but failed to handle the new ball. He clipped the first ball he faced from Johnson for four but then kept on missing, as the left-handed Australian fast bowler’s pace was too hot for him to handle. Pathan’s brief stay at the crease came to an end after he edged an away going delivery to wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist.

But by then India had raced to 34 in 7.3 overs, with Sehwag making a typically brisk start. A couple of edges flew off the bat through the slip cordon but that didn’t deter Sehwag from going for his shots.

Dravid fell just before lunch, on the ground where he had inspired India to a win on the last tour in 2003-04.

Dravid escaped a brilliant leg-before shout from Johnson when he was on three, but edged an incoming Johnson’s delivery to Ricky Ponting at second slip.

Tendulkar made his intent clear against Hogg and hit the left-arm spinner for a six over the mid-wicket. But Hogg got his man Sourav Ganguly (7) trapped leg before the wicket.