Cricket Australia Items/news/2013/2/24/first-test-evenly-poised

First Test evenly poised

UPDATED 31 July, 2014 9:39AM AEST | 5

Sachin Tendulkar led a terrific Indian revival on day two of the first Test against Australia in Chennai on Saturday, while James Pattinson starred with three wickets.

The veteran – who is the highest run-scorer in Test cricket – strode to the crease with his team in trouble at 2-12, in response to Australia's first innings score of 380.

And he delivered when his team needed most, scoring a terrific unbeaten 71 – that came from 128 balls and included six fours - as India finished at 3-182, leaving the match evenly poised with three days remaining.

The early wickets of Murali Vijay (10) and Virender Sehwag (two) heaped the pressure on Tendulkar, with Australian speedster Pattinson (3-25 off six overs) doing the early damage.

Pattinson – who was bowling at speeds of up to 150 km/h in short, sharp spells – removed Vijay when he inside-edged a full ball onto leg-stump, while Sehwag fell in a similar manner two overs later.

Sehwag's dismissal was more bizarre though, with the batsman's inside edge bouncing into the pitch and looping up. The batsman quickly turned around but was unable to locate the dropping ball, before it crashed into leg-stump to spark wild celebrations amongst the Australians.

Tendulkar – who will turn 40 later this year – strode to the crease without a Test century since January 2011.

But he has hit two centuries for Mumbai in four matches of domestic cricket in 2013 and started in stunning fashion, hitting three of his first four deliveries for boundaries to the delight of the home crowd.

Tendulkar and Cheteshwar Pujara (44) steadied the ship with a 93-run partnership for the third wicket before Pattinson struck again.

This time he bowled a terrific off-cutter which beat the gap between Pujara's bat and pad with ease before crashing into off and middle stump.

It was another brilliant piece of bowling from the Victorian but his colleagues failed to cause the same amount of problems.

And Tendulkar joined forces with Virat Kohli (50 not out) to guide India to a good position at stumps.

Left-armer Mitchell Starc (0-37 off 14) and spinner Nathan Lyon (0-55 off 14) bowled the bulk of the Aussie overs while paceman Peter Siddle (0-31 off eight) was also unsuccessful.

Moises Henriques (0-17 off eight) and Michael Clarke (0-14 off two) were also used by the tourists.

Earlier, the Aussies resumed at 7-316 with captain Clarke on 103 not out and they quickly set about increasing their lead.

Clarke looked immediately comfortable at the crease while the defiant Siddle – who faced 94 balls for his 19 runs – held up an end as the tourists pushed past 350.

Clarke, who should have been dismissed on 39 when he clearly edged the ball onto his thigh pad before being caught in close, was given another reprieve on 128 when Pujara spilled a tough chance at mid-off from the bowling of Ravindra Jadeja (2-71 off 36).

But the gritty 54-run partnership between Clarke and Siddle, which took exactly 29 overs to compile, came to an end four overs later when the former holed out to Bhuvneshwar Kumar at mid-off.

Jadeja got his man and Harbhajan Singh (1-87 off 25) made his first breakthrough in his 100th Test in the next over when Siddle edged to Sehwag at slip.

Pattinson (15 not out) and Lyon (three) added a further 16 runs in 12 overs for the final wicket before their resistance was finally broken.

It was fitting that Ravichandran Ashwin (7-103 off 42) would be the man who would end the innings, with the spinner capping a superb first two days with the wicket of Lyon.

Finishing on 380 was a good result for Australia, given they were 5-153, but India's impressive rearguard means the match is in the balance heading into Sunday.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 24 February, 2013 12:30AM AEST

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