SYDNEY, Australia, January 3 – Australia’s young pace spearhead James Pattinson rocked India with three wickets as Sachin Tendulkar chased his elusive 100th international century on the opening day of the second Test on Tuesday.
Pattinson, 21, playing in only his fourth Test match, set the tourists back on their heels with three wickets on the first morning at the Sydney Cricket Ground after India had won the toss.
India reached lunch at 72 for four with Tendulkar unbeaten on 21 and Virat Kohli on 12.
The SCG, hosting its centenary Test, is one of 38-year-old Tendulkar’s happy hunting grounds.
Test cricket’s greatest run-getter has scored three of his 51 Test hundreds in seven innings and coming into the match averaged an incredible 221.33 at the famous ground.
Tendulkar has been stranded on 99 Test and one-day international centuries since scoring 111 against South Africa in the World Cup in March.
Gautam Gambhir was out on the third ball of the Test, nudging an enticing Pattinson outswinger to first slip Michael Clarke for a duck.
Gambhir’s dismissal continued a poor series after scoring three and 13 in Melbourne.
India have now gone 10 Test innings without a half-century opening stand.
Rahul Dravid fell to a bat-pad catch to Ed Cowan in Peter Siddle’s second over for five off 33 balls.
Dravid’s uncertain series continued after he was bowled three times (one off a no-ball) in Melbourne.
Virender Sehwag had a “life” on 23 when he was dropped by Ricky Ponting at second slip off Ben Hilfenhaus.
But Sehwag was out to another splendid Pattinson delivery, nicking to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin for 30 off 51 balls in the 19th over
Pattinson, bowling with beautiful shape, tempted V.V.S. Laxman to drive only to edge to Shaun Marsh at third slip for a disappointing two after scores of two and one in Melbourne.
It was a rare batting failure for Laxman at the SCG, which statistically is his most productive scoring venue outside of India.
In five previous Test innings at the ground he has scored three hundreds and averages 96.20 and his cheap dismissal left India struggling at 59 for four.
The SCG is only the third ground in Test cricket behind Lord’s (123) in London and the Melbourne Cricket Ground (104) to stage 100 Tests.