Sehwag and Sachin put India in control

Sehwag and Sachin shared a 249-run partnership. (AP)

Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar hit centuries in the final Test as India fought to level the series against South Africa and hold on to their number one ranking.

Swashbuckling opener Sehwag smashed 165 and Tendulkar carved out a composed 106 to help the hosts take a first-innings lead of 46 at Kolkata's Eden Gardens yesterday.

India were 342 for five at the close on the second day, with Sehwag scoring his 19th test ton and second in a row and Tendulkar extending his world record to 47 with his fourth straight hundred.

The tourists staged a late recovery when they dismissed both the century-makers plus Subramaniam Badrinath for one in a spectacular mini collapse. Nightwatchman Amit Mishra (one) was at the crease with Vangipurappu Laxman (nine) when stumps were drawn.

Sehwag and Tendulkar shared in a stand of 249 for the third wicket to put the South African attack to the sword after India had dismissed the tourists, who lead the series 1-0, for 296. Indian paceman Zaheer Khan took the last South African wicket in the fourth over of the morning to claim four for 90 in 22 overs.

Sehwag, one of the most destructive batsmen in cricket, overshadowed his illustrious partner as he lashed 23 fours and two sixes. The Delhi dasher, who faced only 174 deliveries, tore into the fast bowlers as he thrashed the new-ball pair of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel for three fours in an over each in a breathtaking display of raw power and exquisite timing.

Sehwag blasted his first 44 runs in 22 deliveries to give India a blazing 73-run start along with Gautam Gambhir, who was run out for 25. Sehwag offered a stumping chance on 129 that was missed by AB de Villiers who kept wicket after Mark Boucher was ruled out with a back injury.

 

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