India in SA

Sachin reaches 50 centuries

2010-12-19 16:12

Centurion - Test cricket's most prolific batsman Sachin Tendulkar has achieved yet another astonishing milestone, as he surpassed the hundred mark against South Africa at Centurion to take his tally of centuries to fifty.

His century came off 197 deliveries, with Tendulkar also passing the 14 500 total Test run mark with a textbook cover drive off Dale Steyn.

Tendulkar and Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni shared an unbeaten century partnership to halt South Africa's march towards victory on the fourth day of the first Test at SuperSport Park on Sunday.

Tendulkar and Dhoni added 117 runs between lunch and tea to take India to 394 for six in their second innings at the interval, 90 runs short of avoiding an innings defeat.

South Africa seemed set for an early win when they took four wickets before lunch, with a new ball available 13 balls after the break.

But Dhoni counter-attacked in thrilling fashion and South Africa's new ball pair, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, were on the receiving end of some cracking drives as Dhoni raced to a half-century off 40 balls with nine fours.

South African captain Graeme Smith was forced into making bowling changes with the ball still relatively new and left-arm spinner Paul Harris was brought on after just nine overs.

Having seen off the immediate threat of the pace pair, Dhoni settled down to play a more conventionally watchful innings and by tea he had faced 93 balls for his 72.

India were 277 for six in their second innings at lunch, still 207 runs short of avoiding an innings defeat.

Sharma frustrated the South African bowlers for the first 48 minutes of the day, looking awkward against short-pitched deliveries but finding a straight bat to keep out anything aimed at his stumps.

Sharma gained a reprieve when he was on 11 when he pushed a return catch to Morkel, only for umpire Ian Gould to check with television umpire Shaun George whether Morkel had bowled a no-ball.

Although there is no decision review system in place for players, the umpires are entitled to check on the legitimacy of deliveries. Replays showed Morkel had over-stepped marginally.

Sharma eventually fell to Steyn when he prodded a catch to Hashim Amla at short leg after making 23 and batting for a total of 71 minutes, facing 51 balls.

Dravid became the third batsman, behind team-mate Tendulkar and Australia's Ricky Ponting, to make 12 000 Test runs, reaching the mark when he had scored 43.

He was congratulated by Tendulkar but did not add to his score before edging a lifting ball from Morkel to wicketkeeper Mark Boucher. The previous ball, pitched well outside off stump, had kept low.

Laxman and Raina fell cheaply, edging Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Jacques Kallis to gully and first slip respectively, with Raina out in the last over before lunch.

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