Patient Sachin Tendulkar middles it this time

Sports

He prodded at the next one; it left him and zipped past his outside edge. The next ball, the fifth of Finn's over, Tendulkar punched down the ground off the back foot. It trickled over the long on rope. One more ball remained. Finn got it to jag away and beat Tendulkar once more.

By accident or design, Gautam Gambhir had shielded Tendulkar from James Anderson throughout his second spell of four overs. When he came back, he immediately tested Tendulkar with reverse swing both ways. But in the fifth over of his spell, Tendulkar steered successive deliveries behind square on the off side for fours. Alastair Cook took Anderson off the attack.

At the other end, Tendulkar paddled Graeme Swann twice, once for two and once for four, and went to tea on 46.

First ball after tea, Finn drifted onto his legs. With a turn of wrist and a swivel of his hips, Tendulkar sent it hurtling down to fine leg. There was a strange edginess to Eden's roar when the ball crossed the ropes. Tendulkar raised his bat to the crowd, twice, and lingered over that familiar glance into the clouds. He had gone 10 innings without getting to 50, without even getting to 30.

And here, he had had to fight past a difficult initial phase. He had scored 28 off his first 82 balls. His next 72 balls, however, brought him 48, as something like the old fluency flowed through his strokes.

First Day in Numbers

8is the number of times james Anderson has dismissed Tendulkar in 13 Tests. He moves level on top with Sri Lankan Muttiah Muralitharan (eight in 19 Tests) on the list of bowlers who have dismissed Sachin Tendulkar most often.

Tendulkar scored just 20 runs off 83 balls from Panesar. The scoring rate (1.44 run per over) is the second-lowest for Tendulkar in an innings against a particular bowler in Tests since 2002 in which minimum 60 balls were faced in innings.

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