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Sachin, Dhoni depart; India battling for survival

cricket Updated: Feb 09, 2010 15:49 IST

IANS
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Sachin Tendulkar (100) fell after completing his 46th Test hundred as South Africa pushed India to the brink of a humiliating defeat in the first cricket Test here today.

Tendulkar's departure soon after his third consecutive Test century put India in serious trouble as the hosts reached 223 for six at tea in their second innings on the penultimate day of the game.

India are still 102 runs behind South Africa's mammoth 558 for and have debutant Wriddhiman Saha (4) and Harbhajan Singh (11) at the crease.

Tendulkar, who got one life in the opening session, played a sweep off spinner Paul Harris but failed to connect it properly and the ball landed on the stumps after jumping off the thigh pad and elbow guard.

The fall of wicket ended a defying 70-run partnership for the fifth wicket between Tendulkar and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (25).

Tendulkar's fighting knock came off 179 balls with 13 boundaries.

Harris was at it again as he soon scalped Dhoni, dealing a brutal blow to Indian hopes and was the most successful bowler for South Africa with his figures of 3 for 45 while the pace trio of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Wayne Parnell have taken a wicket apiece.

Tendulkar and Dhoni gathered runs at a slow pace in the first hour adding only 29 runs in 16 overs as rival team skipper Graeme Smith shuffled his bowlers around.

Tendulkar was the more aggressive partner and was on 99 at the end of the first hour. He completed his century with a single off Wayne Parnell and fell two balls later as luck deserted him.

He came into the series after slamming hundreds in each of the two Tests in Bangladesh last month.

Dhoni and Saha, out for a duck in the first innings, joined forces at the fall of Tendulkar to see the hosts past 200 before the former departed with tea time approaching.

Dhoni was sent back this time after attempting a defensive prod to a ball that spun across and landed in silly point fielder Abraham de Villier's hands.

He was out after a stubborn 144-minute stay in which he faced 112 balls and hit three fours.

In the morning South Africa struck twice by removing Vijay (32) and debutant Subramaniam Badrinath (6), after the home team commenced at 66 for two, before Tendulkar and Dhoni prevented further damage.