Tendulkar leads India's resistance with 77 not out
NAGAPUR: India were struggling to save the match despite a fighting 77 not out by Sachin Tendulkar on the fourth day of the first Test against South Africa on Tuesday.
The batting superstar hit 11 fours in his 55th Test half-century and shared 72 runs for the third wicket with Murali Vijay (32) as India reached 162-4 at lunch at the Vidarbha Cricket Association stadium in Nagpur.
At the break, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was batting on nine with Tendulkar.
India, the world's number one Test side, still needed 163 runs to avoid an embarrassing innings defeat after being bowled out for 233 in their first innings in reply to South Africa's 558-6 declared.
Resuming at 66-2 after being made to follow on, the hosts lost overnight batsman Vijay inside the first hour of play.
Vijay, playing only his fourth Test, tried to sweep left-arm spinner Paul Harris (1-21) but lobbed it up instead to Morne Morkel (1-36) at fine-leg. He hit four fours in his 90-ball knock.
Debutant Subramaniam Badrinath (six) edged left-arm paceman Wayne Parnell to Mark Boucher, who returned to keep wickets after missing the final session on Monday with a back strain.
Tendulkar, dropped on 45 by Jacques Kallis at first slip off Parnell, went on to complete his fifty with a boundary past gully off the same bowler.
He also smashed three fours off Dale Steyn, South Africa's best bowler on show with figures of 8-87 so far in the match.
Dhoni batted cautiously during his 36-minute stay at the crease, India having added 96 runs for the loss of two wickets in the first session.
The second and final Test between the world's top two teams begins in Kolkata on February 14.
South Africa can snatch back the number one Test ranking from India if they win the series while the hosts need just a draw to remain on top.
South Africa 1st innings 558-6 decl H. Amla 253, J. Kallis 173, de Villiers 53, Zaheer 3-96
India 1st innings 233 V. Sehwag 109, S. Badrinath 56, D. Steyn 7-51
India 2nd innings
G. Gambhir b Morkel 1
V. Sehwag c Smith b Steyn 16
M. Vijay c Morkel b Harris 32
S. Tendulkar not out 77
S. Badrinath c Boucher b Parnell 6
MS Dhoni not out 9
Extras b10, lb5, w5, nb1 21
Total for four wickets 162
Fall of wkts 1-1, 2-24, 3-96, 4-122
Steyn 10-0-36-1, Morkel 12-4-36-1 (w5), Parnell 6-0-38-1, Harris 14-5-21-1, Kallis 6-2-11-0, Duminy 1-0-5-0 (nb1)