India edge ahead after Sehwag falls for 319

Opener Virender Sehwag finally fell on 319 but India took a first-innings lead in the first Test against South Africa on Saturday.

Rahul Dravid was one run short of his 25th Test hundred after becoming the sixth batsman to complete 10 000 Test runs, guiding India to 547 for four at lunch on day four in reply to South Africa’s 540 all out.

Sehwag surpassed his own Indian record for the highest Test score (309) but fell short in his bid to surpass the world record of West Indies batsman Brian Lara (400 not out).

The 29-year-old struck 43 fours and five sixes in his near nine-hour stay. He became only the third batsman to score two Test triple hundreds, joining Lara and Australian Don Bradman.

India kept alive their hopes of building a sizeable lead to bring pressure on South Africa on a pitch showing some signs of wear and tear.

Paceman Makhaya Ntini struck twice in successive overs with the second new ball without conceding a run to remove Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar, who was out for duck.

Ntini forced Sehwag to edge a rising ball to Neil McKenzie at first slip before Tendulkar drove a low catch to Jacques Kallis at second slip.

Dravid dug in at the other end to become the third Indian after Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar to complete 10 000 runs. Lara and Australians Allan Border and Steve Waugh are the others to achieve the landmark. Dravid (35) playing his 120th test, reached the milestone on 80 not out when he flicked paceman Morne Morkel to midwicket for a single, running with his arms aloft in celebration.

Sehwag turned Ntini to square leg for a single to go past his previous best and pulled the bowler to midwicket for four before his dismissal.

He added 268 runs for the second wicket with Dravid after he had raised 213 runs with fellow opener Wasim Jaffer (73).

A large crowd watched Sehwag, overnight 309 not out in India’s total of 468 for one, begin tentatively in the morning.

Left-arm spinner Paul Harris reduced the innings to 526 for four when he had Saurav Ganguly (24) caught behind to claim his second wicket.

The second and third Tests will be played in Ahmedabad and Kanpur respectively. – Reuters

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