Tons from Tendulkar, Dravid put India in complete command | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Tons from Tendulkar, Dravid put India in complete command

Sachin Tendulkar struck his 45th Test century and Rahul Dravid his 29th as India toyed with the Bangladesh attack to tighten their grip over the second and final cricket Test on Monday.

cricket Updated: Jan 25, 2010 18:59 IST

Sachin Tendulkar struck his 45th Test century and Rahul Dravid his 29th as India toyed with the Bangladesh attack to tighten their grip over the second and final cricket Test on Monday.

The Indian top order fired in unison today but the second day's highlight was the 222-run third wicket stand between Tendulkar (143) and Dravid (111), who retired hurt after a Shahadat Hossain bouncer had hit him on the ear guard.

India were 495 for five -- 226 runs ahead of their hosts -- when stumps were drawn after Harbhajan Singh's (13) dismissal in the 103rd over of the innings. India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was batting at 22 at stumps.

The 103-run opening stand between Gautam Gambhir (68) and Virender Sehwag (56) provided the perfect platform for the visitors to push for a big total and the Dravid-Tendulkar stand -- their record 17th century partnership -- ensured the pressure on Bangladesh only intensified.

Tendulkar's cause was helped by Raqibul Hasan, who twice dropped him -- first off Rubel Hossain when on 27 and off Shahadat on 50.

Dravid too had his share of good fortune. Batting on 28, he was caught in the slip off Rubel Hossain but it turned out to be a no-ball.

Tendulkar's fluent 182-ball knock was studded with 13 fours and a six, while Dravid hit 12 fours during his 188-ball knock before he had to leave the field. Dravid and Tendulkar today eclipsed the 16 century-plus partnership record shared by the Mathew Hayden-Ricky Ponting (Australia) and Gordon Greenidge-Desmond Haynes (West Indies) pairs.

In the top half of the Indian line-up, only Murali Vijay missed out on a half-century, falling after a 49-ball 30.

The day also saw Gambhir equalling West Indian legend Vivian Richards' record of 11 fifty-plus knocks in consecutive Tests.

After dominating the match right from the word go, India would now look to post a big first innings score so that they do not have to bat for the second time in the match.

India scored at a brisk pace today, amassing 390 runs from the 89.5 overs they faced.

Earlier, twin half-centuries by Sehwag and Gambhir gave India to a flying start.

Resuming on his overnight personal score of 41, Sehwag reached his half-century in the third over of the morning with a boundary off Shahadat who, four overs later, had the batsman caught behind. Sehwag needed 61 balls for his quick knock of 56 which he made with the help of seven fours.

Gambhir, who resumed today on 26, caught up with his senior opening partner with a flurry of fours, including two from consecutive balls off Shahadat in the fifth over of the morning and reached his 11th fifty in 60 balls. More PTI PDS Gambhir, however, failed to negotiate a Shafiul Islam bouncer and the resulting edge was easily collected by Mushfiqur Rahim behind the stumps half an hour before lunch. Gambhir's 68 came from 83 balls and included nine hits to the boundary.

Dravid and Tendulkar then denied the hosts another breakthrough for nearly three and half hours, virtually ending their comeback hopes.

With the two senior most Indian batsmen in the middle, the Bangladesh bowlers toiled hard with little success.

Tendulkar and Dravid cut off risks and rotated strike by taking mostly singles. The duo surpassed the Bangladesh first innings total in the 51st over inside the first hour after lunch. They opened up a bit towards the tea break with Tendulkar hitting two fours of consecutive balls each off Mahmdaullah Riyad and Mohammad Ashraful.

While Tendulkar got two lives in his knock, Dravid wasn't unlucky either. Batting on nine, Dravid was adjudged not out by the third umpire after a Gambhir drive had hit the stumps with Dravid out of the crease and bowler Shahadat suggesting the ball had brushed his finger.

Three overs before lunch, Dravid was caught at the first slip by Junaid Siddique off Rubel Hossain and the Indian had started walking back to the pavilion only to be called back as umpire Billy Bowden ruled it a no ball.

After Dravid had retired hurt, Tendulkar fell to a soft dismissal when he chipped a Shakib Al Hasan delivery to the mid-wicket fielder Imrul Kayes.