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Rediff.com  » Sports » Still lots left in the Test: Tendulkar

Still lots left in the Test: Tendulkar

November 06, 2008 18:58 IST

Nagpur's brand new stadium was supposed to be the attraction on the opening day of the fourth Test, but it was Sachin Tendulkar who stole the limelight with a fluent, but chancy century.

He survived two dropped chances in the nineties before completing his 40th Test ton -- his 10th against Australia. He fell leg before wicket for 109, as India finished the day on a decent 311 for 5.

India lead the series 1-0 and one is sure that a good batting performance in the first innings could virtually assure them Border-Gavaskar trophy.

The veteran's delight on achieving the three-figure mark in such a crucial game was palpable.

"I think if you look at the series, this match is very important. Obviously, if you score a century in an important game it also benefits the team.

"I am delighted at getting the century. But, as I said, four more days to go, so the focus will be on that and not on what has been achieved. The focus is on the next innings," the veteran declared.

Tendulkar, however, regretted losing wickets at regular intervals, including his own, towards the closing stages of the day.

"Right now, I think, there is a lot of cricket left in this match. I won't say we are in a brilliant position, but definitely we are in a decent position. I think five wickets were too much today; three would have been okay," the master batsman reasoned.

Debutant Jason Krejza was the most successful bowler for Australia, claiming three for 138, to pull back the hosts after a blazing start. He was unlucky not have bagged the crucial wicket of Tendulkar, who was twice dropped in the 90s at the long-on region off his bowling.

"I mean, I can say, that he [Krejza] was a bit unlucky. He had a first wonderful day. As I said there is a lot more cricket to play, so we have to wait and see, but he has had a good day," he said.

"Today I can also thank God.(smiles). I think after Adelaide, I have played around six or seven matches. I know I am batting well, but I was not getting to the three-figure landmark. But I don't think that is everything. As you have seen in this Test series, I have gone in at crucial stages at almost four or five times and I have been able to play. That is very satisfying when you deliver when the team needs the most and that is what I have been able to do in this series," the Mumbai batsman added.

Tendulkar pointed out how he and VVS Laxman walked out to bat with the intention of stitching a big partnership after India lost three quick wickets in the morning session.

"It was important that I got going because we had lost a couple of wickets and even Sehwag got out after that. Between me and Laxman it was important that we put up a good partnership and we were successful in doing that," the 35-year-old said.

"I think it was just about keeping the head cool initially, because when I walked in it was a critical stage. At that stage we had to make sure that we had a good partnership and took the game away from Australia because the momentum was with them initially," he added.

Tendulkar believes the wicket will suit India as the match goes on if they can manage a big score in the first innings.

"The wicket is playing good. It is a perfect track, I feel. There is a bit help for the spinners. The spinners are getting bounce, so I think in a day or two it will be difficult to play the spinners."

Debutant opener Murali Vijay, who scored 33, also came in for rich praise from the veteran batsman.
"I thought he batted very well. He looked very good, calm and composed," he said.

Tendulkar also gave his thumbs up to the new stadium, saying the facilities are the best one could ever witness at a cricket stadium.

"I think the facilities at the stadium are excellent. We had heard a lot about the stadium, but it has turned out to be better than our expectations. The facilities, like dressing rooms, the viewing areas, the seating for the spectators are quite good, while there is also a gym along with the dressing room. So the facilities for the players are very good and also for the spectators.

"You can watch the match from the stands at any angle because there is very less obstruction. The viewing area from every point is good, so what more can you ask for," he said.

Our Correspondent