Match hangs in balance, India end day at 128/2

Zeecric Bureau

Bangalore: For every match he plays, he has a new milestone to cross. Playing in his 171th Test, Sachin Tendulkar became the first man on the face on this planet to reach the 14,000-run mark in Test cricket as India ended the second day of the second Test at 128/2 here at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Sunday.

Sachin needed just 27 runs before this match to reach mount 14k. He stroked an over pitched ball from Nathan Hauritz to cover boundary to complete the feat, after which the Bangalore crowd erupted with joy to give the batting maestro a standing ovation.

Tendulkar came onto the field after early dismissal of Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid, and gave his team the much needed damage-control along with opener Murali Vijay.

With 150 runs still short to avoid follow on, Sachin and Murali, who remain unbeaten at 44 and 42 respectively, will hope to continue their partnership on the third day.

Australia earlier got grip of India’s innings the pacers got rid of Virender Sehwag (30) and Rahul Dravid (1) very quickly.

Sehwag, who showed a great form initially, become the first Australian casualty. Sehwag got down to business as soon as he stepped in, slamming four boundaries and a six to give India a quick start. But, it was Ben Hilfenhaus who played the spoilsport and got him caught by Mitchell Johnson at deep square leg for 30 runs.

Soon after Sehwag departure, Rahul Dravid came in hoped to stick around and compensate for the loss. But he too failed miserably as this time Johnson played wicked and got him caught by Marcus North at the slip for just one run.

With, two wickets already down, it was Sachin’s turn to shape things in India’s favour. His unbeaten 90-run partnership with India gave the team a much needed stability.

Australia posted a super-massive score of 478 runs despite losing the top order on the opening day itself, thanks to Marcus North’s career saving ton and Tim Paine’s crucial half-century.

Resuming from the overnight score of 285/5, Australia dominated the entire first session as they went for lunch at 384/5.

The second session brought some success for the Indian side as the spin department, spearheaded by Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha, successfully dismissed the remaining five wickets to wrap up the Australian innings at 478.

India would have claimed the wicket of Tim Paine soon after the lunch break, but were denied of the same due to Sreesanth’s no-ball delivery.

Sreesanth’s short yet wide-length delivery was badly played by Tim Paine; the Aussie’s bat made a feather touch with the ball which skipper-cum-wicketkeeper MS Dhoni made no mistakes in catching. While India rejoiced Paine’s dismissal, umpire Ian Gould referred to the third umpire for a possible no-ball. As feared, the replay showed that Sree was way ahead of the allowed-line, as a result of which, Paine got a second life-line at 40 runs.

He laterwent on to claim his second half century in Test cricket as he, together with North, took Australia beyond the 400-run mark.

However, Paine’s ‘rebirth’ on the pitch was short-lived as he was soon dismissed by Ojha for 59 runs. The Indian spinner struck twice to dismiss Paine and Mitchell Johnson in quick succession.

Ojha put an end to the 149-run Paine-North partnership as he got the former stumped by skipper-cum-wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni. An over later, Ojha dismissed Johnson for a duck after he caught him plumb in front of the wickets.

North, nevertheless, continued to enjoy his stay on the crease as eventually went on to claim his career-saving fifth Test century.

After much struggle, India could finally rejoice North’s dismissal, and this time, it was the spin-wizard Harbhajan Sigh who did the wonders. Bhajji got North caught by Sreesanth at deep mid-wicket, and with that, the mighty 128-run innings came to end.

North’s departure led to Nathan Hauritz (17) and Peter George (2) losing his wickets in quick successions. While Hauritz was run-out by Cheteshwar Pujara, it was Bhajji who claimed the final wicket of George to wrap the Australian innings.