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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Dravid misses ton, but Tendulkar on course

Dravid misses ton, but Tendulkar on course

Last updated on: November 24, 2011 17:07 IST

It was a pleasing sight. As one tried to walk his way through the crowd to get into the Wankhede stadium on Thursday morning there was a sense of satisfaction.

There were hordes of people waiting outside the ground, long queues outside the ticket windows and police personnel had a tough time controlling them.

- Scorecard

True, most had come in the anticipation of seeing Sachin Tendulkar complete his 100th international century on his home ground.

Nevertheless, it was refreshing to see so many lining up to watch Test cricket, which has, in recent years (in this country), lost a lot of spectators to the T20 jamboree.

- Milestone man Dravid completes 13,000 Test runs

The organizers claimed a few stands were sold out. The official figure was put at 20,000 (approx.).

However, the final count that actually entered the stadium was a fraction of the many seen outside in the morning. The attendance was, nevertheless, far better than it had been in the opening two days, an achievement considering the spectator apathy to Test cricket in India, is something well-documented in recent times.

Some pointed to the fact that black marketers were calling the shots and that had put off a lot of people. Else the numbers would have been more, they argued. (The argument definitely made sense).  

Those who did turn up left with mixed feelings at the end of the day. Tendulkar hadn't managed the 'milestone' century they had come to see him score; nonetheless, the Master Blaster remained on track for the same.

At close of play, Tendulkar was unbeaten on 67, and giving him company was VVS Laxman on 32, their fourth wicket partnership worth 57 runs. 

India ended Day Three on 281 for 3 (after 80 overs), 309 runs adrift of the West Indies total.

Rahul DravidVirender Sehwag (37) and Gautam Gambhir (55) put on 67 runs for the opening wicket to give the hosts a good start. Sehwag's, in particular, was a trademark innings, the batsman at one point forcing the West Indies captain to change an attacking field and have as many as five fielders protecting the boundary.

Sammy, though, had the last laugh, rattling Sehwag's stumps soon after he had started to assert himself.

Gambhir and Dravid went on to add another 71 for the second wicket.

In the process, Dravid became only the second batsman, after Sachin Tendulkar, to score 13,000 Test runs when he hit Sammy to the fence to reach 23 -- he required 21 going in to bat.

Gambhir soon completed his 18th Test fifty, only his second against West Indies, with a boundary over midwicket (Sammy being the generous bowler again). He was dismissed soon after, Rampaul having him caught behind.  

Gambhir's departure marked the arrival of Tendulkar at the crease, to a rapturous welcome. A classic upper cut off Edwards off the second ball after tea signaled the Master's intentions.

Dravid, meanwhile, became the only batsman to score thousand runs this year (when on 48). He went on to complete his 62nd Test fifty, his 13th against West Indies.

The duo put on 86 runs for the third wicket before Dravid, attempting a late cut off a Samuels' delivery, saw the ball crash on to his stumps.

The 38-year-old's 149-ball knock was inclusive of 11 hits to the fence.

Soon after, Tendulkar completed his 63rd Test fifty, his ninth against the West Indies, with a single off Samuels.

The 38-year-old had a stroke of fortune as well, when Carlton Baugh dropped him on 58 (off Bishoo). The blemish ensured many fans will spend sleepless nights in anticipation of something they have waited to happen for the last nine months.

Earlier in the day the West Indies added 15 runs (in 19 balls) to their overnight total before being dismissed for 590.

R Ashwin struck with the first ball of his second over of the day, cleaning up Devendra Bishoo (12). The wicket, his 18th in the series, helped the spinner to finish with figures of five for 156, his second five-wicket haul in the series following his six for 47 in the second innings of the first Test at Ferozshah Kotla. 

Bikash Mohapatra