Tendulkar approaches record as Test heads for draw

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The Independent Online

Sachin Tendulkar crept toward test cricket's run-scoring record with an unbeaten 47 at tea today as he led India's fight to save the first cricket Test against Australia on the final day.

Tendulkar was 17 runs short of Brian Lara's tally of 11,953 at the break as India moved to a steady 130 for 3 wickets in pursuit of an unlikely victory target of 299 - a record fourth-innings total at Chinnaswamy Stadium .

Tendulkar, who walked out requiring 64 to become test cricket's leading scorer, hit 10 runs off Mitchell Johnson in the penultimate over before lunch, but was much more cautious in the second session.

He added 31 runs between lunch and tea and was joined by V.V.S Laxman, who was 28 not out.

Australia ended Tendulkar's useful 53-run partnership with Gautam Gambhir when Johnson bowled the Indian opener with a slow off-cutter that sneaked between bat and pad.

Tendulkar preferred to work the ball or defend in his 111-ball knock and had only one moment of trouble when, on 31, he drove at Cameron White and edged for four over the head of Matthew Hayden at first slip.

India's run-rate slowed after Laxman arrived with India at 77-3, the hosts' push to reach the safety of stumps could be helped by rain or bad light.

India must survive for a minimum of 83 overs to avoid going a match down in the four-test series, and had weathered 48 of them by tea.

Australia resumed the fifth day at 193-5 and added 35 runs in five overs before skipper Ricky Ponting declared the second innings at 228-6.

The Australians started aggressively, removing dangerous opener Virender Sehwag for 6 in the sixth over and Rahul Dravid 20 balls later for 5.

Ponting dived almost at full length to intercept Dravid's push to mid-wicket off Brett Lee and leave India in early trouble at 2-24. It was Lee's 291st breakthrough in tests and drew him level with Craig McDermott in fourth place on Australia's list of wicket-takers.

Sehwag had a reprieve when Brad Haddin dropped his edge from Lee, but Hayden made up for the error in the next over. Hayden accepted a sharp catch low to the ground at first slip when Sehwag tried to turn Clark's delivery to the leg-side.

Australia opened the day aiming for quick runs in gloomy conditions and Haddin finished on 35 not out while rookie White was unbeaten on 18.

Shane Watson drove paceman Ishant Sharma's first delivery for a straight boundary, but was bowled next ball for 41 trying to hit to the leg-side.

Sharma returned figures of 3-40 while offspinner Harbhajan Singh had 2-76.

India captain and legspinner Anil Kumble, who has an injured right shoulder, hurt his left thumb while dropping a caught-and-bowled chance off Haddin on the first ball of the day.

Kumble finished the over after a short delay for treatment, but was unable to take a wicket in the match for only the third time in his 131-test career.

India's top order struggled in its first innings and fell to 232-7 before recovering to 360 in reply to Australia's opening 430.