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Dec 15, 2008

Tendulkar ton scripts India's historical win

Chennai: Riding on a sensational knock by Sachin Tendulkar, India placed themselves in a great position to create history at the MA Chidambaram stadium on Monday. Chasing a daunting 387-run target, India need 83 more runs to win in the last session with six wickets in hand.

Tendulkar led the Indian run chase on the decisive day of the first Test against England with a peerless knock of 65 not out. With able support from Yuvraj Singh, Tendulkar steered India to 304-4 at tea.

India, who started the second session on a poor note losing VVS Laxman, added 91 runs after lunch without any further damage.

Tendulkar was a picture of poise as he batted with effortless ease on a slow turning track, plundering six boundaries in his unbeaten innings.

India suffered a big blow after lunch when Graeme Swann had Laxman caught at short midwicket for 26.

England at that stage had India under pressure at 224-4 but Yuvraj ignored both the nerves and the words that came his way from Andrew Flintoff to punch a determined 45 not out that included a huge six off Monty Panesar. He added 80 runs for the fifth wicket with Tendulkar.

India started the day at 131-1, needing 256 to win on the final day at the MA Chidambaram stadium with Gautam Gammbhir and Rahul Dravid in the middle. But England got the perfect start with Andrew Flintoff removing Dravid, who could add only a couple to his overnight score of two. Dravid, who has been in dismal form throughout 2008, edged an outgoing delivery and Matt Prior made no mistake behind the stumps.

Gambhir reached his half-century soon after Dravid's dismissal but he once again fell to a poor shot. He poked at a wide delivery from James Anderson and Paul Collingwood leaped to his right to take a neat catch. The southpaw made 66 with seven boundaries to his name.

The Indian chase seemed to be going downhill but the experienced pair of Tendulkar and Laxman negotiated the rest of the session confidently.

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