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Page last updated at 16:45 GMT, Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Sachin Tendulkar century gives India impetus in SA Test

Third Test, Cape Town (day three, close):
South Africa 362, 52-2 v India 364

Venue: Newlands Dates: 2-6 January Start time: 0830 GMT
Coverage: Live on Sky Sports 2; reports and scorecards on BBC Sport website
Match scorecard

Sachin Tendulkar watches a ball go past his bat
Tendulkar hit 17 boundaries and two sixes in his 314-ball innings

Sachin Tendulkar scored his 51st Test century as India seized the initiative on a fascinating day three of the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town.

Tendulkar hit a majestic 146 as Dale Steyn tormented India's top order with one of the most lethal spells of fast bowling in recent history.

Tendulkar's 76-run stand with Harbhajan Singh (40) helped the tourists to 364.

Steyn ended with 5-75 before Harbhajan took two late wickets as the hosts finished the day on 52-2, a lead of 50.

Captain Graeme Smith and Alviro Petersen had given South Africa an excellent start to their second innings with an opening stand of 50 before Smith was trapped lbw by the industrious Harbhajan.

And the off-spinner struck in the final over of the day when night-watchman Paul Harris also fell leg before offering no stroke to a ball which turned sharply in the rough outside off stump.

51: Sachin Tendulkar (Ind)
39: Ricky Ponting (Aus), Jacques Kallis (SA)
34: Sunil Gavaskar (Ind), Brian Lara (WI)
32: Steve Waugh (Aus)

The late drama added yet another twist to an enthralling day of Test cricket on a scorching day at Newlands, with temperatures touching the late 30s under brilliant sunshine.

With the surface rapidly deteriorating and conditions still heavily in favour of the bowlers, the onus is now on South Africa's top order to set an intimidating target for India to chase.

However, South Africa must do so with first-innings centurion Jacques Kallis, who strained a stomach muscle on the second day, and will only bat if necessary to avoid compounding his injury.

Once again the action centred on a fascinating duel between the speed and guile of Steyn and the belligerence and brilliance of Tendulkar.

The morning session saw the world's number one Test bowler beat the bat with relentless ease, bowling unplayable outswingers to Tendulkar, while moving the ball back into left-hander Gautam Gambhir's pads at searing pace.

But despite his breath-taking brilliance, Steyn was continually frustrated by the Indian duo's inability to land an edge through to wicketkeeper Mark Boucher.

Dale Steyn in action
Dale Steyn collected his 16th Test five-wicket haul in Cape Town

The pair shared a 176-run partnership before Gambhir fell seven runs short of his 10th Test century when he edged Harris to wicket-keeper Mark Boucher before lunch.

India's saviour in Durban, VVS Laxman, looked in good order before he was dismissed in cruel fashion, run out at the non-striker's end via a deflection off Harris' hand after the left-arm spinner dropped a thundering return catch from Tendulkar.

Steyn eventually took his first wicket of the morning with the ball of the series - a fast, outswinging delivery which trapped Cheteshwar Pujara dead in front as the ball swung viciously from leg to middle.

Tendulkar notched his 51st Test century in unconventional style, top-edging Morne Morkel over the wicketkeeper's head for six, bringing up his second hundred of the series and one of the most memorable of his unrivalled career.

However, with Steyn in menacing mood, India's hopes of surpassing South Africa's first-innings total looked bleak after Mahendra Dhoni was caught in the slips for a duck, leaving the tourists on 247-6.

Tendulkar found excellent support from Harbhajan, although the off-spinner somehow managed to preserve his wicket at the very start of his innings despite having his off stump clattered by a Steyn outswinger.

Amir Mir- It Is Time To Break Into The Top 4

Somehow, the bails refused to dislodge, much to the disbelief of the batsmen and the entire fielding side.

The seventh-wicket duo pushed beyond the 300 mark before Harbhajan was brilliantly caught by substitute JP Duminy at deep square leg attempting to pull a short Steyn delivery.

Tendulkar continued to bat with intelligence, rotating the strike to protect his tail while becoming only the second non-South African to score more than 1,000 runs in the country.

The 37-year-old's brilliance was eventually ended when Morkel clipped the top bail but India's tail-enders managed to push beyond South Africa's total for a two-run lead.

India's triumvirate of seamers were guilty of bowling too short to Smith, who capitalised with a number of well-placed horizontal bat shots on both sides of the wicket.

But a change of pace brought about its desired effect as Harbhajan trapped Smith on his crease as he attempted to play off his back foot to a full delivery.

And the dismissal of Harris four balls before the end of play ensured India ended the day on top.

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see also
India duo frustrate South Africa
03 Jan 11 |  Cricket
Kallis defies India in final Test
02 Jan 11 |  Cricket
Sehwag to miss SA one-day series
30 Dec 10 |  Cricket
India beat SA to set up decider
29 Dec 10 |  Cricket
India in South Africa 2010-11
18 Jan 11 |  Cricket

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Sakaal Times SA set stiff target for India - 7 hrs ago
International Business Times UK Brilliant Kallis punctures India - 9 hrs ago
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