Cricinfo: India in South Africa 2006-07

South Africa v India, 2nd Test, Durban, 2nd day

Tendulkar steps into the breach

Sachin Tendulkar might have managed only 46 but the manner in which he imposed himself on the proceedings was the highlight of the day. He walked out to the middle, with India's top order continuing to struggle, and immediately calmed the nerves. Although the runs did not quite come as quickly as India would have liked, Tendulkar, along with Wasim Jaffer, batted with assurance, leaving the ball alone with ease, and occasionally pulling out a stunning shot.

Tendulkar played some gorgeous drives - a cover-drive off Shaun Pollock with the timing and placement spot on was easily the shot of the game. And that was not an isolated stroke. There were others just as immaculate in their execution that made you wonder just how someone with a severely bruised thumb could bat like this. It was his highest score this year (in 14 innings) and it was one of the most barren patches he's endured in his 17-year career.

He had his share of good fortune when on 21 - poking at one from Andrew Hall and managing a straightforward edge. The simplest of catches went straight to Graeme Smith at first slip who put down the chance, unable to latch on to the ball properly. With the tea break round the corner the fall of Tendulkar's wicket would have meant disaster for India. Great player that is he not only didn't let that reprieve upset his momentum but went on to capitalise on the chance fully, thrilling the crowd with his majestic strokeplay.

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