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Tendulkar and Dravid thwart Aussie charge in final Test


MADRAS, India, March 20 (AFP) - Sachin Tendulkar hit 77 not out to bring India to within 13 runs of Australia's 391 on the third day of the decisive third Test here on Tuesday.

The Indians took their lunch score of 266-3 to 378-4 by tea, with Rahul Dravid unbeaten on 48 during an unbroken fifth wicket stand of 94 with Tendulkar.

India lost their captain Sourav Ganguly early in the post-lunch session when he hung his bat out to Glenn McGrath and edged an easy catch to wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist.

But Tendulkar and Dravid settled down to deny the Australians another wicket.

By tea, Tendulkar had hit eight boundaries and a six off Colin Miller. Dravid had eight fours to his credit.

Star bowler Shane Warne, kept out of the firing line till lunch, found little joy when he was brought on soon after the break.

Warne has conceded 111 runs in 28 overs for the solitary wicket of Sadagopan Ramesh on Monday.

His spin partner Miller was equally expensive, giving away 116 runs in 36 overs.

Tendulkar's best stroke was a pedal pull off Miller which raced to the long-leg fence and fetched him his half-century.

Earlier, McGrath grabbed two quick wickets on the third morning as the Indians slipped from their overnight score of 211-1 to 237-3 before going to lunch at 266 without further loss.

McGrath trapped Shiv Das leg-before with the first ball of the day and then dismissed the other overnight batsman, Venkatsai Laxman in his fourth over.

Das, unbeaten on 84, shuffled across a straight ball that beat the bat and thudded into the pads.

Laxman, who hit India's record score of 281 in the second Test at Calcutta, added six runs to his overnight score of 59 when he edged a rising ball to Mark Waugh at second slip.

The sudden dismissal of Das and Laxman, who put on 88 for the second wicket on Monday evening, brought Tendulkar and Ganguly to the crease earlier than they may have hoped for.

Tendulkar began with a superb cover drive for four off Jason Gillespie, who conceded 12 runs in the over that included a wayward delivery that beat Gilchrist for four byes.

Tendulkar added three more boundaries, while Ganguly had only one four to his name as just 55 runs came in the two-hour morning session.







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