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India's master batsman Sachin Tendulkar [Images] cracked his 39th Test century on Thursday to put his side in a strong position on the opening day of the fourth Test against Australia.
The diminutive Tendulkar, playing possibly his last Test on Australian soil, produced a vintage display to score an unbeaten 124 and help India reach 309 for five at stumps at the Adelaide Oval.
Opener Virender Sehwag [Images] (63) and middle-order batsmen VVS Laxman (51) also posted half-centuries as the Indians carefully set about building an imposing total on a flat pitch tailor-made for high scoring.
The Australians, 2-1 up in the four-match series, captured two wickets in each of the first two sessions but only one in the last.
They were unable to find a way to get rid of Tendulkar, who frustrated and tormented their bowlers for nearly five hours.
Left-arm seamer Mitchell Johnson dismissed makeshift opener Irfan Pathan [Images] for nine and former skipper Rahul Dravid [Images] for 18 before lunch.
Express paceman Brett Lee [Images] removed Sehwag early in the middle session then wrist spinner Brad Hogg [Images] dismissed Sourav Ganguly [Images] for seven to reduce India to 156-4.
Tendulkar and Laxman steadied the innings with a 126-run partnership for the fifth wicket before Lee finally got rid of Laxman after tea, leaving wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni [Images] (six not out) to carry on with Tendulkar to stumps.
Tendulkar has been the form batsmen in this intriguing series, scoring an unbeaten hundred in the Sydney Test and half-centuries in Melbourne and Perth, but saved his best for last.
He started cautiously but brought up his fifty off 77 balls then reached triple figures off 133 deliveries, smashing part-time spinner Michael Clarke [Images] down the ground for a six then a four to pass the milestone.
Laxman, who also scored a hundred in Sydney, had a let-off on 37 when he was dropped by wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist [Images] but was unable to really cash in and make a big score.
He brought up his fifty with successive boundaries off Hogg but departed in the next over when he gloved a catch off Lee to Gilchrist.
The Australians had made a great start when they dismissed Pathan and Dravid in the morning session but struggled to make any further inroads as the pitch flattened out and the Indians battoned down the hatches.
Pathan was promoted to open the innings after Wasim Jaffer [Images] was dropped to make way for spinner Harbhajan Singh [Images], but the strategy did not work.
Pathan was named man of the match in Perth after an impressive all-round performance but is regarded more as a seamer than a batsman, although he has scored a Test hundred.
He batted for more than half an hour and hit two fours but departed when Johnson found the edge and Gilchrist took a routine catch.
Dravid shared a 48-run partnership with Sehwag before he also fell to a catch behind off Johnson, getting a thick edge to Ricky Ponting [Images] at second slip.
Sehwag, who returned to the Test arena for the first time in over a year in last week's third Test in Perth, struck six boundaries in a typically dashing innings.
He raced to his half-century off just 68 balls but fell early in the second session when he edged Lee to Matthew Hayden [Images] at first slip, while Ganguly was adjudged leg before wicket to spinner Hogg.
India beat Australia on their last visit to Adelaide four seasons ago and need to win again to square the series having lost in Melbourne and Sydney and won in Perth.
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