Tendulkar, Laxman haul India back on course for a draw (Tea report)

October 13th, 2008 - 4:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Oct 13 (IANS) Even as the debate over the exclusion of the “golden oldies” from the national team rages in the country, Sachin Tendulkar (47 batting) and VVS Laxman (28 batting) put their skill, experience and temperament to good use to keep India afloat in the first cricket Test at the Chinnaswamy stadium here Monday.At tea, India had made a fighting 130 for three, leaving the ebullient Mumbaikar and the Hyderabad dazzler to bat out the remaining 35 overs in the last session of the day. Though India need another 169 runs for an improbable victory, they would be rather glad to go to Mohali with a clean slate in the series.

Chasing a challenging 299 to win in 83 overs, the Indian ship ran aground when Virender Sehwag (6) and Rahul Dravid (5) perished early leaving India in shambles at 24 for two in 8.2 overs. And when a resilient Gautam Gambhir (29) played all over a Mitchell Johnson delivery to have his sticks rattled, an Indian defeat loomed large.

But Tendulkar, who emphatically inched towards bettering Brian Charles Lara’s record Test aggregate of 11,953 runs (131 matches), and Laxman, whose neck is perennially on the chopping block even when he performs, combined to beat back the Australian challenge which lost steam with each passing hour. Desperation was writ large on Ricky Ponting’s face as he led his troops back for refreshments.

Earlier in the morning, Australia declared their second innings at 228 for six to put themselves in position to go one up in the four-match series and record their third successive victory at Bangalore. They had won here in 1998 and 2004.

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