| Murali Vijay with Sachin Tendulkar, on Monday |
Bangalore: With Sachin Tendulkar in such awesome touch and Murali Vijay living a dream, Ricky Ponting is bound to have nightmares till long after this Test ends, on Wednesday.
Being 0-1 down in the two-match Airtel series for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Australia needed to regularly take wickets on Day III. Instead, they went wicketless in the first two sessions, with Sachin and Vijay setting an Australia-specific record 308 for the third wicket.
Not distracted by a reprimand from the International Cricket Council, for a technical breach, Vijay registered his maiden hundred (139) and, speaking exclusively at the Royal Gardenia, emotionally dedicated it to his mother, Lakshmi.
Sachin is still at the wicket, on a chanceless 191, his 49th hundred, and looks good for the first triple of his 21-year India career. But he insisted that wasnt on his mind.
Im not thinking of a double or a triple... We had a good day today (Monday) and can build on it in the morning. Im happy with the way we played, Sachin told The Telegraph.
Despite having batted for almost eight hours, Sachin didnt sound too fatigued. Im not that tired, thankfully, he said. For a 37-year-old, thats remarkable.
Having got out for 98 in the first innings in Mohali, not many days ago, Sachin did an Usain Bolt in the 90s here.
Sachin picked on the thoroughly pedestrian Nathan Hauritz, slog-sweeping him from 93 to 99 and, then, sent him for the maximum one more time. In successive overs.
I didnt really have anything in mind and it wasnt a first... Four times in the past, Id got to a Test hundred with a six... Its about playing the ball on merit, Sachin pointed out.
Mitchell Johnson, the most successful Australia bowler, paid Sachin a handsome compliment. Hes in his own little world... When someone gets 180-190, theres not much to tell about him...
Of course not.
Johnson had praise for Vijay as well. We tried a few things against him, but he played extremely well and was very patient... He got a good hundred.
With two days remaining and India only 43 behind (with five wickets intact) Australias 478, even a miracle of sorts may not be enough for the visitors to force a win and square the series.
Australias concern came through when a team meeting was convened at the Chinnaswamy itself, soon after stumps. Yet again, play ended well beyond the scheduled close, with the entire 90 overs not bowled.
With idol Sachin at the other end, Vijay had a hard act to follow. However, full marks to him for an innings of class.
I have no words to describe how I felt on getting to my hundred... That I did so with my hero just some feet away made it all the more special, Vijay, lucky to have survived a leg-before shout from Ben Hilfenhaus, maintained.
In a wonderful gesture, Sachin actually ran to hug Vijay when the 26-year-old reached that massive personal landmark.
Sachin asked me to savour the moment and asked me to continue with the work I was doing... It was touching, Vijay said.
Vijay doesnt get to open regularly, as the Virender Sehwag-Gautam Gambhir combination is the preferred one, but hes been making a point in almost every innings.
Sachin was, as expected, the master holding a class. Often, he went about his business with such contempt, that it seemed he was playing in a club match.
Ensuring that the momentum didnt go Australias way was a priority and, so, Sachin did his bit to control proceedings in the very first hour. Those 60 minutes produced 60 runs and there was no looking back for India as a timid attack kept wilting.
Sachin and Vijay added 96 in the opening session and 90 in the next.
The Peter Georges, clearly, have to qualify before bowling to a Sachin. Not that Ponting himself had a clue about how to respond.
If theres a consolation, its that some of his predecessors have also suffered at the hands of Sachin.
Debutant Cheteshwar Pujara fell cheaply and Suresh Raina didnt get a big one, but the hosts did enough to please the impressive turnout, which showed up despite it being a working day and the political drama unfolding not far away.
TO a HUNDRED WITH A SIX!
When Sachin Tendulkar hit Nathan Hauritz for a six to complete his 49th Test hundred, in Bangalore, on Monday, it was the fifth instance of his reaching three figures with an over boundary. The list is as follows:
Vs West Indies in Nagpur, 1994-95. Bowler: Courtney Walsh
Vs England in Birmingham, 1996. Bowler: Min Patel
Vs New Zealand in Wellington, 1998-99. Bowler: Daniel Vettori
Vs Australia in Chennai, 2000-01. Bowler: Colin Miller
Vs Australia in Bangalore, 2010-11. Bowler: Nathan Hauritz