|At the age of 38 Sachin Tendulkar continues to set new boundaries in Test cricket [AFP]|
Sachin Tendulkar passed 15,000 Test runs as India closed in on a comfortable victory over West Indies in the first Test at Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium on Tuesday.
The world’s leading runscorer in Tests and one-dayers became the first to touch the new mark with a single off legspinner Devendra Bishoo to move to 28 on his way to 33 not out at stumps on day three.
Tendulkar raised his bat and looked towards the sky on reaching the landmark and was congratulated by batting partner Rahul Dravid and the West Indies players.
The Mumbai batsman, playing his 182nd Test match, needs one more three-figure knock to become the first batsman to score 100 international hundreds. He has 51 Test and 48 one-day centuries so far.
The day’s play finished soon after Tendulkar reached the landmark, with Dravid not out on 30, and India at 152-2 in their second innings, chasing 276 for the win with two days left.
India were in position for the win thanks mainly to offspinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who took 6-47 to help bowl out West Indies for 180 in their second innings.
Ashwin became the second most successful India bowler on debut with match figures of 9-128. Only legspinner Narendra Hirwani produced better figures, with 16-136 against West Indies at Chennai in 1988.
Ashwin’s impressive haul justified the faith of the selectors, who picked him ahead of star Harbhajan Singh.
The Tamil Nadu spinner held center stage as West Indies, enjoying a 95-run first-innings lead, were bowled out 72 minutes after lunch with only first-innings centurion Shivnarine Chanderpaul (47) and captain Darren Sammy (42) providing resistance.
|Ashwin (2R) celebrates the wicket of West Indies cricketer Marlon Samuels with teammate [AFP]|
Ashwin took the wickets of Darren Bravo and Marlon Samuels in the same over in the first session.
He trapped left-hander Bravo (12) lbw and foxed Samuels four deliveries later with one that moved away slightly to take the off stump before the batsman had scored a run.
Ashwin, who accounted for opener Kieran Powell on the second day, also dismissed Chanderpaul, who made a 58-ball 47 before he was lbw.
He earned a five-for when Sammy was bowled off a delivery that kept very low. Sammy struck five fours and a straight six off pace bowler Ishant Sharma in his aggressive 37-ball cameo.
Debutant pace bowler Umesh Yadav took two wickets while Sharma and left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha chipped in with one each.
Sharma got the first breakthrough of the day when he induced an edge from nightwatchman Fidel Edwards (1).
Yadav then took a fine first Test wicket with a ball that came in sharply to clean bowl a well-set Kirk Edwards (33). Yadav later got Carlton Baugh (7) to edge one to wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Set 276 to win, India openers Virender Sehwag (55) and Gautam Gambhir (22) made a brisk start before both were out while looking comfortable.
Left-hander Gambhir fell lbw to part-time offspinner Marlon Samuels while Sehwag inside-edged a delivery from pace bowler Sammy after smashing five fours and two sixes in his run-a-ball innings.
Sehwag, who had also scored 55 in the first innings, survived a chance on 12 when seamer Ravi Rampaul let him off his own bowling. He punished Samuels and Bishoo and was also quick to take singles.
With the openers gone at 95-2, Tendulkar and Dravid came together and led India to the close. Tendulkar struck two fours during his 87-ball knock, and with 124 more runs needed by the team, he’s unlikely to achieve his 100th
international century this week.
The three-Test series will continue in Kolkata and Mumbai.
Top run-scorers in Test cricket
15,005* – Sachin Tendulkar (IND)
12,859* – Rahul Dravid (IND)
12,487 – Ricky Ponting (AUS)
11,953 – Brian Lara (WIS)
11,947 – Jacques Kallis (RSA)
11,174 – Allan Border (AUS)
10,927 – Steve Waugh (AUS)
10,122 – Sunil Gavaskar (IND)