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Sachin Tendulkar [Images] hit an unbeaten 103 as India scored a sensational six-wicket victory over England [Images] in the first Test in Chennai on Monday.
The ace batsman, who hit a boundary to not only notch his 41st Test century but also bring about the winning runs, and Yuvraj Singh [Images] (85 not out) stitched together an undefeated 163 for the fifth wicket as India, chasing 387 for victory, overhauled the highest fourth innings chase -- 276 by the West Indies [Images] at Delhi [Images] in 1987-88 -- on Indian soil on the fifth and final day to go 1-0 up in the two-Test series.
The West Indies hold the record for the highest run chase of 418 for 7, against Australia [Images] at St. John's in 2003. India is second in the list for successfully chasing 406 against the West Indies at Port of Spain in 1976. The only other team to score more than 400 runs in the fourth innings is Australia, who scored 404-3 against England at Leeds in 1948.
The teams now travel to Mohali for the second Test, beginning on December 19.
It was a remarkable victory, as the hosts had conceded a 75-run first innings lead on a track that did not show signs of any rapid deterioration even on the last day.
After four days of ding-dong battle, the Indians titlted the balance decisively with a professional batting display in the second innings. England were ahead for most part of the game but lost the plot on the last day. Perhaps, they must be ruing their decision to declare their second innings at 311 for 9.
It was man of man of the match Virender Sehwag's [Images] explosive knock of 83 off just 68 balls on Sunday that set up victory. Gautam Gambhir [Images] (66) was the other notable performer in the memorable run chase.Tendulkar, who in the process crossed the 1000-run mark this year, played the sheet-anchor role. He used his experience to gather runs mostly through singles and twos, as the bowlers, particularly the spinners, pitched the ball in the right areas.
England heaved a sigh of relief when Graeme Swann scalped Laxman (42 balls, 4x4), who was out to a bat-pad catch by Ian Bell [Images].
But Yuvraj, after reading the pitch for a while, continued with India's plan of counter-attack as Tendulkar played a good foil, keeping one end intact.
Resuming at overnight score of 131 for 1, India suffered an early setback when Dravid was out cheaply yet again, edging a delivery from Andrew Flintoff [Images] to wicketkeeper Matt Prior [Images] in third over of the day.
But Gambhir and Tendulkar took upon the challenge, and at one stage maintained a run rate of around five runs per over, attacking the England bowlers. The duo added 42 runs for the third wicket.
Gambhir (66, 139 balls, 7x4) and Tendulkar never looked under any pressure and took singles and twos while sending the odd bad ball to the ropes.
Tendulkar, in particular, enjoyed his batting as he punished the bowlers whenever they gave him width to play his shots. He survived a half chance soon after India crossed the 150 mark. With Graeme Swann hitting the right areas, the little master stretched to defend but the ball took a sharp turn and hit the outer edge of the bat. Luckily it fell inches in front of Ian Bell at silly point. Tendulkar was on ten then.
Gambhir added 24 runs with Dravid and 42 with Tendulkar, but one lapse in concentration saw him back in the pavilion.
After bowling two short-pitched deliveries in previous over, James Anderson [Images] kept up the pressure on Gambhir, attacking on the off side corridor. The Indian opener moved across and his halfhearted steer ended up to Paul Collingwood [Images], who moved to his left at slips and took a good catch at gully.
Though there was a slight slump in the run flow after the fall of Gambhir, Laxman adapted to the conditions quickly but was in no mood to take any risk against Monty Panesar [Images], who maintained a tight length. He and Tendulkar took the Indian score past 200 in 48.1 overs.
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