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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Tendulkar half-century lifts India

India 405 (Tendulkar 98, Raina 86, Dravid 77, Sehwag 59, Johnson 5-64) trail Australia 428 by 23 runs

Mitchell Johnson arrived just in time as Australia earned a surprising 23-run advantage after India failed to build on a series of promising half-centuries in Mohali. For most of the third day it looked like it would be the hosts who finished with a first-innings lead, but Sachin Tendulkar, Suresh Raina and Rahul Dravid were cut down before the hosts were dismissed for 405.

India were ready to dominate when Johnson struck late to remove MS Dhoni (14), who was given out caught low down by Shane Watson at first slip in a confusing decision, and Harbhajan Singh edged behind next ball. Another key breakthrough came when Raina played back to Johnson and was lbw shortly before the close as part of a collaspe of 5 for 23. The burst left Johnson with 5 for 64 from 20 overs and gained him a sixth five-wicket haul in Tests.

It was a timely comeback for the tourists after they experienced difficult periods from their junior and senior opponents. Raina, 23, is 14 years younger than Tendulkar and was happy to take more risks - he out-scored Tendulkar in their stand of 124 - while the older man was typically calculating.

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