Gambhir, Tendulkar Script India's Great EscapeGautam Gambhir and Sachin Tendulkar hit opportune centuries as India came up with a spirited batting display to salvage a draw in the first cricket Test against Sri Lanka in Ahemedabad on Friday.Opener Gautam Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir and Sachin Tendulkar hit opportune centuries as India came up with a spirited batting display to salvage a draw in the first cricket Test against Sri Lanka in Ahemedabad on Friday.
Opener Gautam Gambhir conjured up yet another marathon innings of 114 runs, result of his six-and-half hour vigil, before Sachin Tendulkar (100 not out) took the centrestage to chase down yet another milestone of 30,000 international runs en route to his 43rd Test ton.
With VVS Laxman (51 not out) also chipping in with his 40th Test half-century, India batted their way out of trouble to maintain their impressive home record against the Lankans.
Going into the final day's play needing just eight wickets to snap their 14-match winless streak on Indian soil, the exasperated Sri Lankans could only watch haplessly as the hosts showed the kind of application and determination that had been missing in their shoddy first innings display.
Resuming with 144 runs in the arrear, the Indians finished the day at 412 for four with Gambhir, Tendulkar and Laxman scoring bulk of the runs on a shirtfront of a wicket that simply had nothing for the bowlers.
Both the teams now move to Kanpur for the second Test starting on November 24.
Milestone man Tendulkar reached yet another landmark in his glittering career when he turned swing bowler Chanaka Welegedara backward of square for a single to take his tally of runs in Tests, ODIs and T20 internationals to 30,000.
Overall, it was a poor advertisement for Test cricket as nearly 1600 runs were scored while just 21 wickets fell over the five days' play leading to this stalemate.
The match also saw the highest number of centuries -- seven --- being scored on the sub-continental soil.
Tendulkar's unbeaten 211 ball knock included 11 hits to the fence.
Trailing the visitors by a massive 334 runs in the first innings, India wiped off the deficit in the last over before tea.
The two Indian batsmen out today were Amit Mishra (24), who did an excellent job in the unaccustomed nightwatchman's role, while Gambhir virtually threw his wicket after notching up his seventh Test century.
Earlier today, Mishra stuck to his task for over 45 minutes after India started the day 144 runs behind the Lankans at 190 for two.
The leg-spinner was eventually dismissed by Angelo Mathews, caught brilliantly at leg gully by Tillakaratne Dilshan.
Tendulkar straightaway started stroking the ball sweetly as he cover-drove the accurate and miserly Mathews for a four and then hit danger man Muttiah Muralitharan for successive fours in one over.
Gambhir, batting solidly from the other end, also opened out and raced to his hundred by hitting left-arm spinner Rangana Herath for two fours before he glanced Mathews to the rope. It was his first hundred against Sri Lanka.
India lost Gambhir in the sixth over of the second session. He was lured by a well-tossed up ball from left-arm spinner Rangana Herath and, in trying to hit it into the vacant leg side area, got the leading edge to be caught at mid-off by Dammika Prasad.
It was the Delhi left-hander's third hundred this year and in as many Tests since making his marathon match-saving 137 against New Zealand at Napier in March. The ICC Test Player of the Year faced 230 balls and struck 13 fours in his six and a half-hour stay.
Tendulkar was joined by Laxman and the duo ensured that no further wickets were given away to either pace or spin by forging an unbeaten 137-run fifth wicket partnership. PTI