Sehwag, Tendulkar put India in control
Sachin Tendulkar notched his fourth consecutive Test ton and Virender Sehwag scored 165 as India relied on the sheer class of the experienced duo to take control of the second and final cricket Test against South Africa in Kolkata on Monday.
After polishing off South Africa's first innings at 296, the hosts rode on Tendulkar's 47th ton and Sehwag's 19th century to amass 342 for five at close on the second day, which saw the home team lose three key wickets in quick succession at the fag end.
At stumps, VVS Laxman (9) and night-watchman Amit Mishra (1) were at the crease, with India ahead by 46 runs.
It was Tendulkar's fourth century on the trot since the first Test against Bangladesh in Chittagong last month. He hit his second century in the second Test against Bangladesh in Mirpur and his third came in the first Test of the ongoing series in Nagpur.
Tendulkar returned to the pavilion soon after completing his century, his fifth against South Africa, with Harris plotting his dismissal. The star batsman edged the ball to Jaques Kallis in the slips, leaving the Eden crowd shell-shocked.
Image: Sachin Tendulkar
Sehwag was on fire
Gautam Gambhir and Sehwag gave India an explosive start, putting on 73 runs for first wicket in just 9.2 overs before the southpaw was run-out for 25.
Dale Steyn, the visitors' first Test hero, found the going tough, with Sehwag creaming him for three consecutive boundaries as he conceded 29 runs in his forgettable first spell of five overs.
With Sehwag on fire, there was similar treatment at the other end for Morkel, who conceded 28 runs from his three-over first spell.
Just when South Africa needed a breakthrough badly, India gifted them an easy wicket in the form of Gambhir, who was a victim of a Sehwag blunder.
With India cruising 72 for no loss in 9.1 overs, Gambhir responded to a second-run call from Sehwag but only to see himself stranded in the middle of the track as his partner changed mind.
Image: Virender Sehwag
Sehwag, Sachin shine in a 249-run stand
The vociferous crowd at the Eden Gardens was treated to a stunning exhibition of strokeplay by the two Indian masters as they put on a 249-run partnership for the third wicket to torment the South Africans, who need to win the match to dislodge India from the number one position in the Test rankings.
Sehwag and Tendulkar, who unleashed some exquisite shots, appeared to be in no discomfort at all against the South Africans who did every thing to break the partnership without much luck till the very end of the day.
With the partnership taking gigantic proportions, South Africa's spinner Paul Harris mainly bowled a negative line outside the leg stump to dry up the runs.
But both Sehwag and Tendulkar (106) fell at the fag end of the day alongwith S Badrinath to allow the visitors to claw back into the game to some extent.
Image: Sehwag and Tendulkar