Home Sports Rampaging Sehwag and Tendulkar put India at an advantage

Rampaging Sehwag and Tendulkar put India at an advantage

By Sirshendu Panth, IANS,

Kolkata : Opener Virender Sehwag blasted a swashbuckling century and partnered an unfinished 150-run stand with Sachin Tendulkar as India seemed on course to a first innings lead at tea on day two of the second cricket Test against South Africa here Monday.

India were 232 for two at the break, with Sehwag unconquered on 125 and Tendulkar batting on 65. India were 64 behind the South African first innings total of 296 at the Eden Gardens.

Sehwag, playing his trademark scintillating strokes on all sides of the park, scripted his 19th ton in his 76th Test match as the South African bowlers were sent on a leather hunt in the post lunch session.

The Najafgarh boy got to his three-figure mark by disdainfully despatching Wayne Parnell to the point fence with a grass-cutting stroke 44 minutes before tea to pump his fist, triggering loud applause among the 20,000 strong crowd.

The seasoned campaigner reached the personal milestone in 168 minutes off 87 balls, embellishing his knock with 16 boundaries and two sixes.

Tendulkar, on the other hand, was concentration personified as strokes flowed from the middle of his blade right from the outset. A cover driven four off the back foot to Parnell was the stroke of the day, as he took 112 minutes to reach his 55th Test half-century.

The South African bowlers could not put the duo under any pressure as the 100-run stand for the third wicket came off 102 minutes.

Tendulkar’s continuing 146-minute knock included nine boundaries.

In the morning, resuming at 266 for nine, the South African last pair of Parnell (12) and Morne Morkel (11 not out) added 30 more runs in 18 minutes, thanks to some loose bowling by the Indians.

Zaheer finally brought the innings to an end by getting Parnell leg before with the third delivery of the second new ball to finish with figures of four for 94.

In reply, Gautam Gambhir and Sehwag gave the hosts a flying start, as they came up with some fluent shots to bring up the 50 in only 37 minutes.

Gambhir (25) was needlessly run out following a Sehwag faux pas, while Murali Vijay (7) was lapped up behind the wicket when he poked a Morne Morkel delivery just outside the off stump.

Sehwag was lucky to survive when Duminy dropped a dolly at first slip, with Morkel being the suffering bowler.

Sehwag picked up India’s first Test nemesis Dale Steyn for special treatment plundering three consecutive boundaries in his second over, courtesy a drive past backward point, a short arm pull through square leg and another upper cut past point as 15 came from the over. Morkel received a similar battering from the Indian vice captain some time later.

Steyn got some of the deliveries to rise steeply, but at times wavered on length.

But the partnership was broken at 73, as the solid-looking Gambhir returned to the pavilion. The Delhi batsman edged Parnell to the square leg area, and Sehwag called him for a second run before suddenly deciding otherwise to leave Gambhir stranded in the middle.

The South African pacers softened up Vijay with a series of short pitched stuff before his 18-minute stay came to an end. Morkel bowled full-length and Vijay went for a defensive probe only to manage an edge to stand-in-skipper A.B. de Villiers.