South Africa sight win after Harris double

Sachin Tendulkar hit his third century in a row but could not stop South Africa from moving closer to victory on the fourth day of the first Test against India on Tuesday.

Tendulkar, 36, smashed 13 fours in his 100-run knock for his 46th Test century before being bowled by left-arm spinner Paul Harris, who also got rid of Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni for 25.

At tea India were 223/6, still needing 102 runs to avoid an innings defeat after being bowled out for 233 in their first innings in reply to South Africa’s 558/6 declared.

Harbhajan Singh (11) and Wriddhiman Saha (four) were batting at the break at the Vidarbha Cricket Association stadium in Nagpur.

Tendulkar, who hit two successive centuries during India’s 2-0 away Test win against Bangladesh, defied the South African attack for close to four and a half hours before being dismissed in a bizarre fashion.

Tendulkar tried to sweep Harris but the ball bounced off his body, hit the elbow and fell on to the stumps. He watched the ball in disbelief before trudging back to the pavilion.

The batting ace shared 72 runs for the third wicket with Murali Vijay (32) and another 70 runs with Dhoni, who was caught at silly point after staying for 144 minutes at the wicket.

Off to a bad start
Resuming at 66-2 after being made to follow on, the hosts lost overnight batsman Vijay inside the first hour of play.

Vijay, playing only his fourth Test, tried to sweep Harris (3/45) but lobbed it up instead to Morne Morkel (1/44) at fine-leg. He hit four fours in his 90-ball knock.

Debutant Subramaniam Badrinath (six) edged left-arm paceman Wayne Parnell (1/47) to Mark Boucher, who returned to keep wickets after missing the final session on Monday with a back strain.

Tendulkar, dropped on 45 by Jacques Kallis at first slip off Parnell, went on to complete his 55th Test half century with a boundary past gully off the same bowler.

He also smashed three fours off Dale Steyn, South Africa’s best bowler on show with figures of 8-97 so far in the match.

The second and final Test between the world’s top two teams begins in Kolkata on February 14.

South Africa can snatch back the number one Test ranking from India if they win the series while the hosts need just a draw to remain on top. — AFP

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