SPORT

Tendulkar and Dravid make merry

MASTERCLASS: Playing at his customary best, Sachin Tendulkar, in the company of Rahul Dravid, put the Bangladesh attack to sword while compiling his 45th Test century on Monday.

MASTERCLASS: Playing at his customary best, Sachin Tendulkar, in the company of Rahul Dravid, put the Bangladesh attack to sword while compiling his 45th Test century on Monday.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: AP

K.C. Vijaya Kumar

Gambhir and Sehwag also chip in with half-centuries



Gambhir joins Viv Richards in scoring 11 consecutive Test fifties

Tendulkar, Dravid register world record for most century partnerships in Test cricket



Dhaka: It is a duo that has weathered storms and painted pretty pictures.

Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid’s shared theme of durability was displayed again at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium here on Monday. Tendulkar’s 45th ton, Rahul Dravid’s 29th century and their 222-run partnership for the third-wicket helped Dhoni’s men tighten their grip on the second Test against Bangladesh.

At close on the second day, India scored 459 for five and with an unfinished lead of 226 is set for another triumph while leading the series 1-0.

Mishap

A day of batting riches was, however, marred when Dravid (111, 188b, 12x4) got retired-hurt after a Shahadat Hossain bouncer with the second new-ball, did not climb as expected and slammed into the batsman’s helmet visor. Later Tendulkar, Murali Vijay and Harbhajan Singh’s soft-dismissals had minimal effect as India marched ahead with captain M.S. Dhoni at the crease.

Tendulkar (143, 182b, 13x4, 1x6) and Dravid had their streaks of fortune as catches were dropped and a run-out was avoided while they remained equal to the task of coping with a sluggish pitch.

They also became the best pair for 100-run partnerships through their 17th successful alliance. The earlier record of 16 belonged to the pairs of Ricky Ponting-Matthew Hayden and Gordon Greenidge-Desmond Haynes.

Shakib swirled in his left-arm spin with a negative line and a packed on-side. The pace trio of the two Hossains (Shahadat and Rubel) and Shafiul Islam, removed the slip cordon, kept two gullies and tempted the batsmen to slash. Later as reverse-swing surfaced, two short mid-wickets were placed to choke any mistimed shot off the incoming delivery.

Unfazed

However, Tendulkar and Dravid remained unfazed. Initially Dravid used his feet and freed his arms while Tendulkar took some time to gauge the pace of the pitch. Tendulkar also enjoyed his share of reprieves on 27 and 53 while Raqibul Hasan dropped him twice at gully off Rubel and Shahadat.

Tendulkar soon drilled his shots through the in-field with a whip off Rubel being the pick. The maestro’s slog-sweeps and Dravid’s inside-out drives negated spin as the partnership gained depth. The on-drives and backfoot-punch were also employed as Dravid continued to flourish though a close run-out call, late in his innings, tested his patience.

Dravid reached his 100 while denting the cover-picket and along with Tendulkar added value to the earlier efforts of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir.

Bounced out

It was not Sabina Park and there were no Caribbean drawls of ‘give him the perfume ball’. But out there in the middle, three bouncers tweaked in a different sub-text during the first session. Sehwag and Gambhir succumbed while Dravid survived to add a touch of welcome drama.

Sehwag (56, 63b, 8x4) pummelled a few through the off-side but was surprised by Shahadat’s bouncer. On his toes and with the bat inches off his nose, Sehwag fatally fended to signal the end of a 103-run partnership with Gambhir.

The odd delivery kept low and the pitch began its share of surprises but Gambhir (68, 83b, 9x4), in the form of his life, reached his 50 to equal another record. The opener signed his name alongside Vivian Richards for scoring 11 consecutive Test fifties and the other fabulous record of Sir Don Bradman beckoned.

A sixth successive Test century seemed there for the taking but Shafiul, steaming in from around the wicket, cramped Gambhir with his angle and the bouncer had the intended effect. An ungainly Gambhir helped wicket-keeper Mushfiqur Rahim exult again.

Lucky escapes

Dravid, meanwhile, enjoyed two slices of luck on nine and 28. A Gambhir drive had earlier narrowly missed Shafiul’s outstretched palm and crashed into the non-striker’s stumps with Dravid backing up too far.

A few overs later, Rubel’s bouncer caught Dravid off-guard, a diving Junaid Siddique ‘caught’ at slip and the man from Bangalore began his pavilion-bound walk before pausing on seeing Billy Bowden’s ‘no-ball’ call.

Tendulkar and Dravid then unfurled their partnership to shut Bangladesh out of the match.

SCOREBOARD

 Bangladesh — 1st innings: 233.

India — 1st innings: G. Gambhir c Mushfiqur b Shafiul 68 (83b, 9x4), V. Sehwag c Mushfiqur b Shahadat 56 (63b, 8x4), R. Dravid (retd. hurt) 111 (188b, 12x4), S. Tendulkar c Kayes b Shakib 143 (182b, 13x4, 1x6), M. Vijay c Mahmudullah b Shakib 30 (49b, 3x4), M.S. Dhoni (batting) 22 (38b, 2x4), Harbhajan c Mushfiqur b Shafiul 13 (23b, 2x4), Extras (b-1, lb-5, w-1, nb-9) 16, Total (for five wkts. in 102.5 overs) 459.

Fall of wickets: 1-103 (Sehwag), 2-146 (Gambhir), 3-421 (Tendulkar), 4-436 (Vijay), 5-459 (Harbhajan).

Bangladesh bowling: Shafiul 17.5-1-70-2, Shahadat 19-2-71-1, Rubel 23-0-106-0, Shakib 27-0-108-2, Ashraful 4-0-26-0, Mahmudullah 11-0-63-0, Siddique 1-0-9-0.

Recommended for you