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Tendulkar, Pacers Star In India's Fightback

PTI 18 Jan 2010, 17:07:26 IST

Sachin Tendulkar's 44th century and the triple strikes by the pacers fuelled India's fightback on a weather-hit second day of their first cricket Test against Bangladesh in Chittagong on Monday.

On a day of little action, foggy condition led to a delayed start while bad light dropped early curtains on the day's proceedings. In the 24.5 overs that could be played, India recovered some of the lost ground by posting 243 in their first innings before returning to claim three home side wickets to leave Bangladesh 59 for three at stumps.

Raqibul Hasan (1) and Mohammad Ashraful (0) were in the middle at stumps with the hosts trailing India by 184 runs with seven wickets in hand.

Earlier, it was Tendulkar's masterly unbeaten 105 that guided India to a respectable 243 in their first innings.

Tendulkar's crafty unbeaten 166-ball knock included 11 hits to the fence besides a couple of six before he ran out of partners as India slumped to their lowest total against Bangladesh at the Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Cricket Stadium.

 India's earlier lowest against Bangladesh in completed innings was 429 in the first innings at Bangabandhu National Stadium in November 2000.

Bangladesh made a solid start in their reply with openers Tamim Iqbal (31) and Imrul Kayes (23) sharing a 53-run stand before they lost way after lunch as three wickets fell in the space of 10 balls for just five runs.

Pacer Zaheer Khan took two wickets for 32 runs while Ishant Sharma claimed one victim for 14 runs.

Tea was taken 30 minutes before schedule but the thick thick fog, which had delayed the start by 90 minutes, returned again and play was called off for the day at 4:40 pm local time after a long inspection by the field umpires ahead of revised closing at 5:30 pm. The post-lunch session also was delayed by 10 minutes due to bad light.

Both the Bangladeshi openers denied the Indians an early breakthrough but once the duo were separated 11 overs into the second session, two other wickets fell in quick succession undoing the solid start.

Tamim and Kayes mixed caution with aggression and resisted from the temptation of playing away from their body as the Indian pacers kept the ball outside their off side consistently. They played some delightful shots off the Indian pacers   Zaheer, Ishant and S Sreesanth -- whenever the ball was short of length.

Kayes hit two fours off Zaheer in the first over after lunch and another boundary off Sreesanth. He then punished Ishant in the pacer's second over.

Kayes was the first to go, LBW to Zaheer after he had stitched a 53-run stand from 84 balls for the first wicket. He played across the line an angling Zaheer delivery only to miss it and the ball hit his pads in front of leg stump. Kayes hit five fours in his 46-ball innings.

Next over, Shahriar Nafees (4), who made it to the home team squad after severing ties with rebel Indian Cricket League, came in and left in a hurry, caught at second slip by VVS Laxman off Ishant to undo the good start as Bangladesh were reduced to 58 for two.

Zaheer reduced Bangladesh to 58 for three as he clean bowled Tamim, who was looking dangerous with some lusty blows off the Indian pacers. Tamim, who hit six fours in his 45-ball innings, failed to defend a delivery which kept low and nipped back after landing outside the off to find his off stump going for a walk.

From 53 for no loss, Bangladesh were reduced to 58 for three in the space of 10 balls and their good work of bundling out the world number one side opponents for a modest 243 seemed to have evened out.

Earlier, Tendulkar stood tall among the ruins with his 44th Test hundred as India folded up for 243 in their first innings.

 Overnight 213 for eight, India's last two wickets fell in little over half an hour.

Resuming at a personal score of 76, Tendulkar took just 20 balls and 25 minutes to complete his ton in the morning. He reached his fourth century against Bangladesh in 160 balls with the help of 10 fours and two sixes.

However, Tendulkar, whose century today is the second at this venue, ran out of partners as Ishant, who did not add to his overnight score of one, and Sreesanth (1) could not give him company for long. PTI