Tendulkar hits 42nd Test century

Sachin Tendulkar added a commanding innings of 160 to his world record list of 42 Test centuries, then found himself embroiled in a catching controversy on the third day of the first cricket Test against New Zealand on Friday.

Tendulkar scored his second Test century in New Zealand—11 years after his first here in 1998—to help India to 520 in reply to New Zealand’s first innings of 279, a commanding lead of 241.

New Zealand was 75-3 at stumps, still trailing by 166 runs with its fragile middle order exposed and India holding a suffocating grip on the first match of a three-Test series.

Tendulkar further contributed to India’s dominant position when he caught opener Tim McIntosh at slip from the third ball of the innings, before McIntosh or New Zealand had scored.

However, television replays showed the ball, bowled by Zaheer Khan which took the outside edge of McIntosh’s bat, may have bounced a fraction of an inch in front of Tendulkar before his hands closed around it.

“I have seen the replays and I have seen my fingers under the ball,” Tendulkar said. “Sometimes on camera it looks different. I was pretty much confident otherwise I would not have appealed for it.”

New Zealand coach Andy Moles said the catch should have been referred to the third umpire, who would be able from replays to determine if it had carried.

“You all saw the TV shots, it’s fair to say we’re surprised it wasn’t referred,” Moles said.

Tendulkar left the field for medical attention to a cut hand after taking the catch and it is unlikely he could have known if the ball had carried to him.
He is expected to take a full part in the fourth day’s play on Saturday.

The third day revolved around Tendulkar and his superb innings, which was his fourth century against New Zealand and extended his lead over Australian captain Ricky Ponting (37) to five on the list of Test century-makers.

Tendulkar resumed at 70 not out Thursday, having batted for 210 minutes on the second day for his 52nd half century in his 157th Test.

He reached his century in 260 minutes, from 168 balls with 15 fours and his 150 in 359 minutes when India was 407 for five. The innings marked the 18th time in his career Tendulkar has scored 150 or more.

He was finally out, caught by Ross Taylor standing upright at first slip off Iain O’Brien, after occupying the crease for exactly 400 minutes, facing 260 balls and hitting 26 boundaries.

He had begun the day by walking to the ground in the company of English umpire Ian Gould, a remarkable event in itself for one of the world’s most recognized and admired sportspeople. Tendulkar can hardly leave his home in India without being mobbed by fans but in Hamilton, New Zealand’s fifth-largest city, he has been able to stroll to and from the ground each day without attracting a crowd, seldom even a glance.

His teammates were surprised on one afternoon to see Tendulkar enjoying a coffee in a cafe close to the ground, alone and ignored by other diners.—Sapa-AP

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