India record famous win

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The Independent Online

Sachin Tendulkar guided India to a stunning six-wicket victory with a superb century as England slumped to defeat in the opening Test in Chennai.

Set a daunting target of 387 just after tea on the fourth day, India sealed a famous triumph with 21 overs of the final day remaining to complete the fourth-highest successful run chase ever.

Marginal outsiders at the start of the day when they resumed still 256 runs away from victory on 131 for one, it took a brilliant 163-run unbroken partnership between Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh to secure what eventually became a comfortable victory.

Arriving at the crease just three overs after the start when Rahul Dravid edged Andrew Flintoff behind, master batsman Tendulkar provided the steady influence to pace the chase brilliantly.

He finished unbeaten on 103 having spent over five hours at the crease withstanding everything England could throw at him while Yuvraj, subjected to a fierce verbal battle with England's fielders at the start of his innings, hit an unbeaten 85 in his comeback Test.

England looked on course for an excellent victory - particularly considering their disrupted build-up to the Test following the terrorist attacks on Mumbai - when Flintoff struck so early in the day.

Tendulkar was immediately given a testing introduction with Flintoff examining his technique with a number of short balls before he demonstrated his class by cutting the first of five boundaries on his way to his half-century.

Opener Gautam Gambhir, who resumed overnight on 41, reached his half-century in the sixth over of the day with a clipped single off Graeme Swann after two and a half hours at the crease.

It took a bowling change, bringing James Anderson into the attack as a replacement for Lancashire team-mate Flintoff, to end Gambhir's threatening 42-run stand with Tendulkar.

Hammered for 15 runs in just two overs the previous evening, this time Anderson provided greater control and finally tempted Gambhir into a loose shot outside off stump which was superbly caught by a diving Paul Collingwood in the gully.

That brought VVS Laxman to the crease for the remaining nine overs of the session, which he survived comfortably, but played a loose shot fending off Swann just four overs after lunch and found Ian Bell at short leg.

England immediately increased their levels of aggression as soon as Yuvraj arrived at the crease with captain Kevin Pietersen introducing main spearhead Steve Harmison to the attack for the first time in the 34th over of the day.

Harmison reacted by throwing the ball back aggressively at Yuvraj, who had not moved out of his crease, in his second over and noticeably did not apologise while both Flintoff and Pietersen attempted to rile the Indian batsman with constant chatter and try to goad him into a mistake.

Instead of wilting under the war of words, however, Yuvraj responded with a superbly composed innings to claim a half-century and forge a match-winning partnership with Tendulkar.

Yuvraj even slowed down as the finish line approached to ensure Tendulkar could reach his 41st Test century with a sweep for four off Swann which sealed the victory and delighted the 30,000 crowd.