India makes a strong reply
MUMBAI – Sachin Tendulkar was on course for his 100th international century while Rahul Dravid completed a milestone to lead India’s strong reply in the third and final test against West Indies earlier today.
The hosts, chasing an imposing first-innings total of 590 by West Indies, were 281 for three at the close of the third day with Tendulkar (67) and VVS Laxman (32) at the crease.
The 38-year-old Tendulkar, with 51 centuries in tests and 48 in one-dayers, needs one more to get to the coveted ton that has eluded him since he last made three figures in the 50-over World Cup in April.
Playing in front of a 20,000 crowd at his home Wankhede Stadium ground, the master batsman hit five boundaries and a six as he added 57 for the fourth wicket with Laxman.
“We will have a full house with the little master on 67 but the big crowd might have some broken hearts tomorrow,” smiling West Indies captain Darren Sammy told reporters.
“This test match is really poised. We have someone who is about to cross a massive, special mark.”
Tendulkar’s only blemish came when he edged leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo on 58 but wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh failed to hold on to the tough chance.
Dravid (82) became the second player after Tendulkar to reach 13,000 runs in tests, and also brought up 1,000 runs in a year for the third time in his career as he made his 62nd half-century.
He added 86 runs for the third wicket with Tendulkar before being clean bowled while attempting to cut part-time spinner Marlon Samuels.
The 38-year old Dravid also put on 71 for the second wicket with Gautam Gambhir (55) after India lost Virender Sehwag (37) before the lunch break.
Dravid went past the 13,000-mark with a sublime cover drive off Sammy, one of his 11 boundaries.