Tendulkar, Gambhir steer India to 237/4 (Lunch report)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

CAPE TOWN - Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir endured ferocious fast bowling from Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel to steer India to 237 for four at lunch on the third day of the third and series-deciding cricket Test at Newlands here Tuesday.

While Gambhir was dismissed by Paul Harris for a fighting 93, Tendulkar was standing rock-solid at 94. Giving him company was Cheteshwar Pujara, who skillfully fended off Morkel’s steaming bouncers in the last over to survive.

India still trail by 125 runs and would need Tendulkar at the crease to wipe off the defecit.

Resuming at 142 for two, India added 95 runs in the session losing two wickets.

It was the most absorbing contest between bat and ball in the series with Steyn and Morkel exhibiting exemplary fast bowling and Tendulkar and Gambhir standing upto the challenge.

Steyn bowled with pace, getting movement and getting past Tendulkar’s bat. The first over itself set the tone of the session as Steyn troubled Tendulkar with his outswingers. After surving four balls, including a caught behind shout in the second, Tendulkar leaned forward for a beatiful copy-book cover drive.

Steyn kept the tempo, bowling fuller lenth and getting the ball to shape out beatifully, teasing the batsmen to play at it. The Indian maestro squeezed every bit of his vast experience, showing patience to hung on and drove with confidence whenever Steyn slightly erred in length.

Having troubled Gambhir in the series with his steep bouncers, Morkel, at the other end, bowled at furious pace and kept the left-hander on his toes. Gambhir fended off resolutely, but never wavered. The two had their share of fortune one needs in such conditions and against high quality bowling, when some edges flew past the slip cordon, but by and large they tackled the quicks with conviction.

Left-arm pacer, Lonwabo Tsotosbe, inspired by the bowling of the other two, tested Tendulkar with some good short balls. But Tendulkar humbled him with two cracking fours off successive balls. The first was disdainfully pulled to the midwicket fence and the next was a sweetly-timed cut over backward point.

After Tendulkar and Gambhir rose over the tide, the latter was out to Harris, edging to wicketkeeper Mark Boucher. Gambhir hit 13 fours in his 223-ball and 318-minute vigil.

V.V.S Laxman after hitting three fours, was unlucky to be run out when Harris tried to stop a Tendulkar scorcher, and the ball hit the stumps at the non-strikers end with Laxman out of the crease.

Steyn and Morkel bowled two overs with the second new ball, the intensity and sharpness back in their spells.

will not be displayed