|India made a solid response to the West Indies' hefty total of 590 [AFP]
Sachin Tendulkar stayed on course for an unprecedented 100th international century as India made a strong reply on the third day of the third and final Test against the West Indies on Thursday.
The master batsman was unbeaten on 67 while Rahul Dravid (82) completed 13,000 Test runs as India reached 281-3 in their first innings at stumps in reply to the West Indies' 590 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
Tendulkar has so far added 57 for the unfinished fourth-wicket stand with Venkatsai Laxman (32 not out) with India now needing 110 more runs to avoid the follow-on with seven wickets in hand.
Tendulkar's 133-ball knock included an uppercut for six off paceman Fidel Edwards. He played handsomely, delighting the nearly 20,000 spectators in the 32,000-capacity stadium.
But he was lucky to survive on 58 when wicket-keeper Carlton Baugh dropped a difficult chance off leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo.
West Indies first innings (o’night 575-9)
A Barath c Dhoni b Ashwin 62
K Brathwaite c Kohli b Ashwin 68
K Edwards c Dhoni b Sharma 86
D Bravo c Dhoni b Aaron 166
K Powell c Dhoni b Ojha 81
M Samuels c Dravid b Ashwin 61
C Baugh b Aaron 4
D Sammy c Dhoni b Aaron 3
R Rampaul c Kohli b Ashwin 10
F Edwards not out 11
D Bishoo b Ashwin 12
Total (for all out; 184.1 overs) 590
Fall of wickets: 1-137 (Barath), 2-150 (Brathwaite), 3-314 (K. Edwards),
4-474 (Powell), 5-518 (Bravo), 6-524 (Baugh), 7-540 (Sammy), 8-563 (Rampaul), 9-566 (Samuels), 10-590 (Bishoo).
India first innings
G Gambhir c Baugh b Rampaul 55
V Sehwag b Sammy 37
R Dravid b Samuels 82
S Tendulkar not out 67
V Laxman not out 32
Total (for three wickets; 80 overs) 281
Fall of wickets: 1-67 (Sehwag), 2-138 (Gambhir), 3-224 (Dravid).
Bowling: F. Edwards 15-0-70-0 (nb4), Rampaul 12-1-42-1 (w1), Sammy
22-3-67-1 (w2), Samuels 11-0-48-1, Bishoo 20-4-53-0.
Tendulkar's 99 international centuries are almost evenly split between the Test and one-day format.
Dravid batted confidently during his 149-ball knock to become only the second batsman after Tendulkar (15,153) to score 13,000 Test runs when he drove seamer Darren Sammy through the covers for four.
He also completed 1,000 Test runs in the year for the third time in his career.
India lost openers Gautam Gambhir (55) and free-scoring Virender Sehwag (37) before the world's top two run-getters, Dravid and Tendulkar, added 86 for the third wicket.
Dravid looked set to complete his 37th Test hundred, and the sixth of the year, before he was bowled by part-time spinner Marlon Samuels while attempting a cut after hitting 11 fours.
Gambhir, who hit eight fours, fell soon after completing his 18th Test half-century, adjudged caught behind while attempting to pull paceman Ravi Rampaul.
He was involved in two useful stands, adding 67 for the opening wicket with Sehwag and 71 for the next with Dravid.
Sammy provided the breakthrough in his third over when he bowled Sehwag with a delivery that cut in to surprise the batsman.
Sehwag played some attractive shots during his cameo, lofting Sammy over the covers for a six in the bowler's opening over. He also hit three fours in his 50-ball knock.
The West Indies earlier added 15 runs off 3.1 overs to their overnight total of 575-9 before off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin bowled Bishoo (12) to finish with 5-156 - his second five-wicket haul in the debut Test series.
Debutant paceman Varun Aaron claimed three wickets, while paceman Ishant Sharma and left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha took one wicket each.
India lead 2-0 in the series after winning the opening Test in New Delhi by five wickets and the second match in Kolkata by an innings and 15 runs.