|Tendulkar ended day three in Bangalore nine runs short of his sixth double century in Tests [AFP]
Sachin Tendulkar struck an unbeaten 191 and starred in a marathon 308-run stand with Murali Vijay to fuel India's strong reply in the second Test against Australia in Bangalore.
A day after becoming the first batsman to reach 14,000 Test runs, Tendulkar lit up third day's play with his 49th century while Vijay registered his maiden with 139 to help India reach 435 for five wickets at close.
Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was giving company to Tendulkar at stumps with India, who lead the two-match series 1-0, 43 runs behind Australia's first innings total of 478.
Tendulkar hit a sparkling 319-ball knock studded with 20 fours and two sixes to remain on course for his sixth double century.
Resuming on 128 for two, both Tendulkar and Vijay made the most of a highly productive morning session on Monday.
Tendulkar hit Nathan Hauritz for a six to reach 99 and repeated the treatment in the off-spinner's next over to bring up his ton and trigger boisterous celebrations at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
While teammates, opponents and the crowd applauded his feat, Tendulkar took off his helmet, raised the bat, looked skywards and then closed eyes in a silent prayer.
Vijay took a more conservative way to reach his century mark, with a single off Peter George, but was more expressive in celebration, jumping and punching the air.
He thanked Tendulkar for helping him reach his ton.
"It was a dream come true for me to play with Sachin," he said.
"I was just focussed on each ball and not try to think too far ahead. In that regard Sachin helped me a lot."
Mitchell Johnson finally broke the partnership, India's highest third wicket stand against Australia, in the final session when he dismissed Vijay and debutant Cheteshwar Pujara in the same over.
He said afterwards that a good batting pitch had not helped matters.
"It's been a tough day. Big partnership of 300," Johnson, easily the pick of the Australian bowlers with 3-89 from 23 overs, said in a TV interview.
"As a fast bowler, you want to see some bounce and carry; it was a bit too slow.
"We stuck through the day and got a few wickets in the end to put some pressure on them."