Brilliant Tendulkar puts India in front

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Australia were 13 without loss in their second innings at close on the third day of the second Test match against India at the SCG on Friday.

Updated: January 07, 2008 09:59 IST
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Sachin Tendulkar's belligerent 154 not out guided India to a 69-run first innings lead over Australia on Friday and extended his world record for most Test centuries.

Tendulkar was on 69 when India slipped to 345 for seven on the third afternoon of the second Test and he only had the tailenders to help him reach his 38th Test hundred and overhaul Australia's first innings of 463.

And help him they did. Harbhajan Singh score 63 in a 129-run eighth-wicket partnership and India's last three wickets added 187.

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When No. 11 Ishant Sharma (23) top-edged an attempted pull shot to give Brett Lee a return catch and a fifth wicket for the innings, India was out for 532.

Lee finished with 5-119 to lead the Australian bowlers, while Mitchell Johnson and Brad Hogg had two wickets apiece.

Openers Matt Hayden (5) and Phil Jaques (8) survived the five overs before stumps, moving Australia's second innings total to 13.

Tendulkar resumed on the third morning on 9 and started to find his world-renowned touch while playing the anchor role in an 108-run fourth-wicket partnership with Sourav Ganguly.

He had just driven Brad Hogg for six straight down the ground two balls before the Australian wrist spinner broke the stand.

Ganguly, on 67 from 78 balls, stepped down the pitch and miscued a drive directly to Mike Hussey at mid-off.

The former India captain smashed his bat into the pitch in frustration, having wasted a start in perfect batting conditions.

Lee then took three wickets in quick succession to have India in trouble, trapping Yuvraj Singh (12) lbw just before lunch and having Mahendra Singh Dhoni (2) and Anil Kumble (2) caught behind just after the interval.

Those wickets gave Adam Gilchrist his 400th and 401st Test dismissals, making him only the second wicketkeeper to reach the milestone, and seemingly put Australia in control.

But keen to make amends for the 337-run loss in the first Test last week, Tendulkar had other ideas.

Tendulkar, who now has four more centuries than anyone in Test cricket, pushed a Stuart Clark delivery past cover point and ran two to reach triple figures just before tea.

He arched his back, raised his helmet and bat up, looked to the sky, then embraced Harbhajan in mid-pitch _ all to a standing ovation by the Sydney Cricket Ground crowd.

It was his third hundred at the ground, including an unbeaten 241 four years ago in the most recent Test for India here, and his eighth against Australia. He now averages 326 at the SCG.

He struck 14 boundaries and the six.

Singh was the first wicket to fall in the evening session, getting a thick edge off Johnson to Hussey in the gully.

RP Singh added 13 to continue Australia's frustration before Sharma's cameo, containing five boundaries, ended and left Tendulkar without anyone else to bat with.

With a deficit to make up and rain predicted for the weekend, Australia's prospects of a world record-equaling 16th consecutive Test win are starting to diminish.

Australia set the record streak between October 1999 and February 2001. India ended that streak in Calcutta in one of the great comebacks in Test cricket.

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