India register stunning victory

Chennai, December 15:

Sachin Tendulkar hit an unbeaten 103 as India achieved the fourth-highest run chase in history to stun England by six wickets in the first Test here today.

The hosts surpassed the seemingly improbable victory target of 387 with 20.3 overs to spare on the fifth and final day to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.

Tendulkar swept off-spinner Graeme Swann to fine-leg for the winning boundary that also brought up his 41st Test century. Yuvraj Singh chipped in with 85 not out in a fifth-wicket stand of 163 with Tendulkar to dash England’s hopes after England dominated a major part of the match with both bat and ball.

India required 83 runs from 40 overs and England needed six wickets in the last two hours of play, but Tendulkar and Yuvraj survived the second new ball to fashion a remarkable win. Tendulkar anchored India’s chase for five hours in which he hit nine boundaries. Yuvraj made up for his first innings score of 14 by coming good when his team needed it most.

The top three run chases in history are the 418-7 by the West Indies against Australia in 2003, 406-4 by India against the West Indies in 1976 and 404-3 by Australia against England in 1948.

India’s victory was set up the previous day by flamboyant opener Virender Sehwag, who smashed 83 off 68 balls with 11 fours and four sixes to leave the hosts 131-1 at the close.

When play resumed today, India suffered a blow in the third over when Andrew Flintoff had Rahul Dravid (four) caught behind by Matt Prior. Gautam Gambhir (66) was caught by Paul Collingwood off James Anderson and Venkatsai Laxman (26) was dismissed by Swann. The second Test starts in Mohali on Friday.