Sehwag and Tendulkar seize control

India take a lead of 46 runs, after the third-wicket pair put on 249, but lose three wickets towards the end of second day's play.

Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag batting in tandem is a lot like fire and ice. One is cool, calm and collected, the other explosive and very dangerous. Corrie van Zyl, the South Africa coach, was witness to that combination between the "Mumbai Maestro" and his one-time understudy, as Tendulkar and Sehwag tore the tourists' bowling attack to shreds at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata, yesterday with a century apiece, allowing India to close day two of the second Test on 342 for five after dismissing the Proteas for 296. "Those are two different innings, both of them are very important," said Van Zyl. "Sachin is very special, the way he plays, a workman like innings, nothing different today. "I think Sehwag's innings was unsettling to everybody. The fact that he scores very quickly and obviously he gets the crowd behind him, all of that is unsettling," he added.

"That is the time when you have got to stick to game plans and get back to the basics. I thought, sometimes, we didn't do that and that is the strength of Sehwag." Sehwag was belligerent as ever, hitting three-figures in Test cric-ket for the 19th time from just 87 balls. Tendulkar, as usual, was classy in scripting his fourth century in as many Tests and 92nd international hundred. Together, they added 249 runs for the third wicket from 57.4 overs, toying with the South Africa attack until JP Duminy got Sehwag out hitting low to short cover. In the next over, Paul Harris, who bowled a Test-record 12 wides yesterday, managed to tempt Tendulkar into his first false shot, an attempted inside-out drive that resulted in an edge to first slip.

S Badrinath did not last long and India had slipped from 331 for two to 336 for five, before closing the day 46 runs ahead. Van Zyl said the three quick wickets have put the game back in the balance and have given a boost to South Africa's hopes of winning the series and replacing India at the top of the rankings. He said: "It was a very hard day for us, but I think those last three wickets, out of which two were really big, have set us up for a good day. That brought back balance to the game." The Sehwag-Tendulkar show should have eased some of the concerns in the India dressing room, which must have risen following the news that Yuvraj Singh will miss the three-match ODI series against South Africa.

Yuvraj suffered a wrist injury on the tour of Bangladesh and will be absent from the squad to be announced today for the series starting on February 21.

South Africa (overnight 266-9): Wayne Parnell lbw Khan 12 Morne Morkel not out 11 Extras: (1b, 4lb, 11nb, 10w) 26 Total (all out, overs 85) 296 Bowling: Zaheer Khan 22-5-90-4 (5w) Ishant Sharma 18-7-67-1 (7nb, 5w) Amit Mishra 21-3-70-1 (4nb) Harbhajan Singh 24-2-64-3. India: Gautam Gambhir run out 25 Virender Sehwag c Prince b Duminy 165 Murali Vijay c de Villiers b Morkel 7 Sachin Tendulkar c Kallis b Harris 106 VVS Laxman batting 9 Subramaniam Badrinath b Steyn 1 Amit Mishra not out 1 Extras: (5b, 5 lb, 12w, 6nb) 28 Total (for five wickets, 76 overs) 342 Fall of wickets: 1-73, 2-82, 3-331, 4-335, 5-336. Bowling: Dale Steyn 17-4-66-1 (1nb) Morne Morkel 15-1-80-1 (5nb) Wayne Parnell 12-1-61-0 Jacques Kallis 7-0-24-0 Paul Harris 24-1-97-1 (12w) Jean-Paul Duminy 1-0-4-1.