Tendulkar battles to fine century

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The Independent Online

Sachin Tendulkar hit yet another century while Dale Steyn grabbed five wickets to set up a scintillating day three of the third Test at Newlands, which ended with two late Harbhajan Singh wickets reducing South Africa to 52 for 2.

It meant the hosts had an overall lead of 50 after dismissing India for 364 shortly after tea – a total that was built around a stunning 51st Test century for Tendulkar (146).

The veteran batsman was on the receiving end of some fine bowling from Steyn, who produced the most hostile spells witnessed in the series so far to end with 5 for 75. However, Tendulkar dug in and, together with Gautam Gambhir (93) and Harbhajan (40), helped India reply with a total just ahead of the home side's 362.

South Africa began the reply in positive fashion, reaching 50 without loss, but the departure of captain Graeme Smith (29) and nightwatchman Paul Harris for a duck allowed the tourists to finish a drama-filled day on a high.

Harbhajan said: "It was a great day for Test cricket. Sachin got another brilliant hundred and we can't really ask for more from a day's cricket. We have the edge, slightly, but still need to do a lot of work to win this game."

The Indians, who resumed on 142 for 2, had a scare in the first over when an edge from Tendulkar to Mark Boucher was not spotted by either umpire Ian Gould or Steyn, although the ball did appear to bounce before being caught.

Tendulkar soon settled and after lunch he extended his record century mark in Tests with a top-edged six off Morne Morkel to raise his tonne. Tendulkar's innings eventually ended on 146 when Morkel went through his defences and the ball clipped the top of off stump.

Steyn's fiery efforts were then rewarded as he completed his five-for with the last two wickets to end a barren spell by his standards. "I'm a great believer in just picking yourself up," said Steyn.