Sydney, Australia : January 4, 2007 – It was a great day for India, when Sachan Tandulkar scored a great century on third day at the SCG and put India ahead of Australian’s first inning score of 453.The Australians had created an impression to the whole world by boasting that India would not be able to win even a single test match. No doubt Australia luckily won the first test by a huge margin on the strength of some wrong decisions given against India.
If there were fair refereeing in the first match, the results would have been a draw. Even in this test in the first inning the Empires tried to give Australians an edge over India by making refereeing against India but India did not lose heart.
India gave the most befitting reply to Australia by putting 532 on the board with a lead of 59 runs. After securing 13, the Australians are behind 56 runs. What it shows?
It is clear that there is no supremacy as claimed by Australia, India has equal calibre, rather a bit more as proved by them in the second test, the first inning. Australia who wanted to create a psychological superiority over India has also proved wrong, at least now. Tendulkar’s knock ensured that they not only take the lead, but also gave India the momentum to go all out in the hosts’ second essay, he remained not out.
Other aspect of story by HT
It was perhaps a celebration one would never expect from Tendulkar after he scampered for two after a backfoot drive through cover. There was an immense sigh of relief, with the bat raised and both arms pointing towards the air in gratitude.
The Sydney crowd got what it came to see the cricket for. It was almost a deja vu moment for Tendulkar as he fought through a horrific period of slump four years back at the same venue with a atypical 241*. He passed a flurry of milestones as he got to his 38th century and then it became the 8th against the Aussies and the 5th in Australia.
Tendulkar’s knock was a near perfect one by most means. It was an innings that started cautiously but once he settled in, it was nothing short of a treat to watch – especially the way he controlled his aggressive instincts and more remarkably, batted with the tail.
There was a healthy mix of cautious aggression through his knock, with perfect awareness of when to take the charge and drop anchor accordingly. As usual, he was severe on anything pitched on his pads often whipping and flicking them with authority. He also used his feet with a great deal of conviction against Brad Hogg and Michael Clarke, putting anything short away. At the same time, he saw through some intense spells from Mitchell Johnson and Brett Lee and then made merry while the bowlers were tiring.
The other aspect that defined his innings today was the partnerships he put on with both Sourav Ganguly and the tail. Harbhajan walked out at a time when India were precariously placed, at 345/7 and got off to a streaky start in typical fashion. But the remarkable aspect of the Tail-Tendulkar partnerships was that the other three dominated the strike, while Tendulkar was happy to give them the opportunity, displaying enough faith in their ability.
Harbhajan did not disappoint his senior partner as he scored an invaluable 63 in a hundred-run partnership, while RP Singh and Ishant Sharma hung around to frustrate the Australian bowlers. Harbhajan Singh was particularly strong against fast bowlers, especially the sound coming off the bat seemed a lot sweeter. The tail offered enough resistence to keep the Aussies at bay. However, they managed to finish the Indian innings, with Harbhajan leaving the field, caught at gully off Johnson. Clark then struck to remove RP Singh and then Lee completing his fiver by bagging Ishant Sharma caught and bowled.
India wobbled and slumped when they lost the wickets of Yuvraj, Dhoni and Kumble in quick succession. Yuvraj lost his wicket just before lunch, when he was caught plumb by a Brett Lee delivery, which trapped him on the back-foot low and straight. Yuvraj scored just 12. The tourists were 321/5 when Lee broke through. Soon after, Dhoni followed him to the pavilion for 2 as he poked one through to Gilchrist. India 330/6. Then it was Kumble’s turn as he too pushed one straight into Gilchrist’s green gloves.
Earlier in the day, Sourav Ganguly looked in sublime touch and batted India to safety. He started playing some shots early on in the innings and his sonata touch continued through to the new year. Ganguly was particularly severe on the spinners Brad Hogg and Michael Clarke. Tendulkar and Ganguly brought up their hundred partnership, India’s second of the match.
However, Ganguly succumbed to Hogg’s persistant bowling when he gave away his wicket at a crucial juncture. Hogg came round the wicket, an unusual line for a chinaman bowler and Ganguly advanced to drive off the legs, but only managed to hole out to mid-off. India were 293/4 when Ganguly left the action.