Tendulkar’s ton helps India take 241-run lead


Hamilton : Sachin Tendulkar hit his 42nd Test century as India were all out for 520 in the first innings at tea and took a 241-run lead over New Zealand on the third day of the first cricket Test at the Seddon Park here Friday.

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Resuming at the overnight score of 278 for four, one run behind the hosts’ total, India straightaway went into top gear with Tendulkar stroking the ball fluently.

Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni scored a patient 47 while Zaheer Khan hit a quickfire 51 not out as India piled the misery on the New Zealand bowlers.

The 35-year-old master craftsman Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh (22) scored 35 runs in the first four overs. Left-handed Yuvraj was all grace as he clipped Martin for two fours and Tendulkar drove the medium-pacer through the covers majestically.

Tendulkar was unstoppable as he glanced and cut Iain O’Brien for two more fours to get into his 90s.

Martin and Iain O’Brien bowled successive maidens to restore some sanity, but Tendulkar, 70 overnight, raced to his hundred without wasting much time in the 90s.

Tendulkar, who saw Yuvraj lose his off-stump in an error of judgement, moved to 99 pushing into the covers and reached his century, flicking James Franklin to square leg.

At the lunch break, Tendulkar was batting on 135 and with him was captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on 22 as India made 384 for five and built a lead of 105 runs. The only Indian wicket to fall in the first session, which produced 106 runs, was that of Yuvraj Singh. He was bowled shouldering arms to Chris Martin for 22.

Of the 66 runs scored in the first hour, Tendulkar’s contribution was 47 and that clearly showed the mood he was in.

Dhoni was fortunate to find the first ball he faced take the edge and fall short of third slip, but thereafter he settled down to play second fiddle to Tendulkar. Dhoni was well set for a deserving half-century but edged to O’Brien to Brendon McCullum. At the end of the innings, Zaheer stroked his way to an unbeaten half-century before he fell short of partners.