Dravid crosses 13,000-run mark, Tendulkar closer to 100th ton

Mumbai : Rahul Dravid Thursday became the second player in the world to score 13,000 runs in Test cricket after Sachin Tendulkar, who himself was 33 short of his 100th international century, as India ended the third day of the third and last cricket Test at 281 for three in reply to the West Indies’ first-innings score of 590.

Dravid missed his hundred by a mere 18 runs, though he crossed the thousand runs in the calendar year, and Tendulkar was still there batting on 67 and with him at stumps was V.V.S.Laxman on 32.

All the top-order Indian batsmen, barring Virender Shewag (37), got half-centuries, Dravid top-scoring with 82 (149 balls, 11×4) was involved in two good partnerships — 71 for the second wicket with Gautam Gambhir and 86 runs for the third with Tendulkar.

Gautam Gambhir (55) and Sehwag gave India the customary rousing start, knocking up 67 runs at over five runs an over, after off-spinner Ravichandran Aswhin (5/156) picked up his second five-wicket haul as the West Indies innings came to a close within 15 minutes of the morning play.

Sehwag brought up the 50 of the innings, greeting Darren Sammy with a huge six over the covers.

Sammy, however, was rewarded for his accuracy in his third over when he pitched it just short of driving length and it nipped back enough to rattle Sehwag’s stumps. This was the third time the Indian opener was dismissed by the West Indies captain in the series.

India were 74/1 at lunch break, and in the second session Gambhir and Dravid got going untroubled. Dravid reached the milestone of 13,000 runs with a classic drive for four off Sammy as he moved from 19 to 23.

Gambhir reached his half-century with a lofted shot over mid-wicket off Sammy and a ball later struck the medium-pacer to the on for a four.

The re-introduction of fast bowler Ravi Rampaul did the trick. Gambhir looked good for a big innings when he tried to hook a bouncer and was adjudged caught behind. The Delhi batsman was seen shaking his head as he walked off and the TV replays and snickometre were not conclusive.

In walked hometown hero Tendulkar to a rousing welcome from the crowd in the hope of his hundredth international century. Even he looked confident and secure, timing his shots to perfection till an intended late-cut off Devendra Bishoo was dropped by Carlton Baugh.

He was on 58 then, but there was no hint of such an aberration as he drove off Rampaul for four or upper-cut Fidel Edwards sailing 15 rows into the stand for a six.

Dravid was also in great touch, getting to his half-century off 99 deliveries, and was on his way to his 37th Test century. Unaccountably, he tried to cut off-spinner Marlon Samuels and missed. The ball took the bail off.

Earlier, the West Indies, resuming at 575/9, survived just 3.1 overs before their innings folded up, last man Bishoo being bowled by Ashwin, who finished with five for 156.

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