Sydney Test: India take firm grip

India have taken firm control of the fourth and final cricket Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The visitors cruised to 650 for 5, Sachin on 220.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:04 IST
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India have taken firm control of the fourth and final cricket Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The visitors cruised to 650 for 5, on the back of an unbeaten double century from Sachin Tendulkar and a 178 from VVS Laxman. The team picked up the scoring rate in the final session scoring 155 runs off the last 30 overs, grinding the hapless Australian bowling. Parthiv Patel hit a quick fire 45, while Tendulkar remained unbeaten on his highest Test match score of 220. The out of form little master silenced all critics as he took a cheeky single to reach his double century off 396 balls, studded with 27 boundaries. Aussies clueless The famed Australian attack appeared lost and went wicket less for two entire sessions. They received little support from the fielders, who failed to latch on to the few catches that came their way. The Kangaroos finally got a breakthrough in the post tea session, dismissing Laxman on 178 with the new ball. Laxman chopped a Jason Gillespie delivery on to his stumps to end the 353 run partnership. Skipper Saurav Ganguly followed soon, bowled by an express Bret Lee delivery on 16 off 12 balls. Cautious start Earlier in the day, resuming at 284 for three, Tendulkar and Laxman quickly hit the cruise mode button to rake up 101 runs in the first session. Tendulkar, 73 overnight, began watchfully against the steady line and length of Jason Gillespie. He got his first runs of the day with an on-driven four off Brett Lee and from then on found the runs coming at ease. He brought up his 100, from 212 balls with 16 fours, with a single off Simon Katich. Laxman at the other end was on song from the start. He cracked five boundaries off Lee's first two overs to race to his half century in the fifth over of the day. The stylish right hander then cut and drove Nathan Bracken as India moved past the 350 mark in the 108th over. Records galore And it was also a day when records kept breaking. With unbeaten 220, Tendulkar joined Waugh in the all time centurions' list and only former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar was ahead of him with 34 hundreds. More importantly for India, the fourth wicket stand between Tendulkar and Laxman on 353 was the best by any team against Australia, erasing the 288-run association between England's Nasser Hussain and Graham Thorpe. Their partnership also eclipsed India's previous best for the fourth wicket between Tendulkar and Ganguly, who put on 281 against New Zealand in 1999. Besides, it was the third time Laxman was involved in a 300-run partnership against the Kangaroos. (With PTI inputs)