Sachin Tendulkar made a fluent 73 and Rahul Dravid remained unbeaten on 68, as India gained command reaching 214 for three at stumps on the second day of the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

 

India trail by a further 119 runs.

 

After dismissing Australia for 333, India made a shaky start losing opener Gautam Gambhir for three with just 22 runs on board. But, Dravid and Virender Sehwag made sure there was no further damage and added 75 runs for the fourth wicket.

 

Sehwag looked in sublime touch slamming seven boundaries for his knock of 67, which came from 83 balls. His quickfire innings came to an end when an inside off his bat crashed into the stumps, giving James Pattinson his first wicket of the match.

 

Sehwag’s dismissal got Little Master Sachin Tendulkar at the crease, who showed no signs of being under pressure for his impending 100th international century.

 

Along with Dravid, he punished the Australian bowlers slamming boundaries and hitting a six off Peter Siddle with a superb late cut. But, the Australian pacer extended Tendulkar’s wait for the record ton when he bowled him for 73 towards the end of the day.

 

On the other hand, Dravid looked vulnerable to bounce and swing despite making a confident start, but completed his half-century. He faced 185 balls for his innings of not out, which included six boundaries.

 

Earlier in the day, Zaheer Khan claimed four for 77 and Umesh Yadav and R Ashwin bagged three wickets each as Australia were bowled out for 333 after resuming their first innings at 277 for six.

 

Australia recovered from 214 for six to 333 earlier in the first session with Peter Siddle missing out on his half-century by nine runs, as he was dismissed for 41 by Zaheer Khan.

 

Siddle and Haddin resumed Australian innings at 277 for six, but Zaheer broke their 72-run stand when he had Haddin caught by Virender Sehwag for 27.

 

The left-arm India pacer soon bagged his fourth wicket on comeback, dismissing Siddle for 41.

 

Spinner R Ashwin wrapped up the tail claiming the wickets of Ben Hilfenhaus and Nathan Lyon.