Murali Vijay hits ton; India in command

Murali Vijay hits ton; India in command

Opener Murali Vijay recorded his third ton as India recovered from two early blows, including that of debutant centurion Shikhar Dhawan, to inch closer to Australia's first-innings total in the third cricket Test here today.

At lunch on the fourth and penultimate day, India were 384 for three, 24 runs behind Australia's 408 all out. Vijay was batting on 142 while Sachin Tendulkar got out for 37 -- caught by Ed Cowan at forward short-leg off Steven Smith -- in what should have been the last over before lunch.

Resuming on 283 for no loss, Dhawan (187) and Cheteshwar Pujara were the two other batsmen to have been dismissed, besides Tendulkar.

Overnight on 83, Vijay added the required 17 runs to get to the three-figure mark.
The 27-year-old Dhawan, after his blistering record-breaking feat yesterday, was sent back after he could add just two runs to his overnight score of 185. He spent 251 minutes at the crease, faced 174 balls and smashed 33 fours besides hitting two sixes.

The left-handed batsman from Delhi has already broken quite a few records en route to his turbo-charged innings and was in line to rewrite a few more, before off-spinner Nathan Lyon had him caught by Ed Cowan at silly point in only the day's second over.

Next man Pujara was trapped in front by pacer Peter Siddle, who bowled a fairly tight spell, a far cry from the beating the Australians were subjected to by Dhawan in the last two sessions yesterday.

Vijay, meanwhile got to his century with a lofted shot over midwicket off Lyon, his patient knock a stark contrast to the one played by his opening partner.

To get to his hundred, which also is his third against Australia, the 28-year-old Chennai batsman faced 206 balls and spent 276 minutes. He struck 12 boundaries and two sixes.After sharing a 287-run partnership with Dhawan, which is India's third highest for the first wicket, Vijay added another 92 runs with Tendulkar, who looked in good nick before getting out.

Watchful to start with, the veteran from Mumbai soon opened up to play some delightful shots on either side of the wicket.

While his first boundary was a heave over midwicket, he was in his elements soon as he straight drove Mitchell Starc in his first over -- the ball was racing towards the ropes before the bowler could even complete his follow-through.

Tendulkar then unleashed a cut against the left-arm seamer, and the result was the same. Just before that, he played a masterful cover drive off Lyon, which brought the Sunday crowd to their feet.

Tendulkar meanwhile became the highest individual scorer on this ground, surpassing former teammate Rahul Dravid, who held the previous record with 731 runs from nine matches.

Tendulkar is playing in his 11th at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) Stadium.
India were 350 up in the 81st over, even as Australia skipper Michael Clarke introduced his fourth specialist bowler, Xavier Doherty, but the left-arm spinner could never really trouble the hosts on this bone-dry wicket.

But there was a period when Tendulkar went into a shell managing just two off 28 balls. Vijay, though, looked to accelerate breaking the shackles with a six over long-on off Doherty. Tendulkar too, broke free, driving Moises Henriques trough cover and mid-off.

But he could not survive the session as a Smith delivery urned and bounced awkwardly to lead to his dismissal.

An awe-inspiring Dhawan yesterday made the day his own by bludgeoning his way to an unbeaten 168-ball 185, the fastest-ever Test century by a debutant.
India lead the four-match series 2-0 after wins in Chennai and Hyderabad

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